Feb 12 and 19, 2014










The Eucharist


The Eucharist



Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning.

IN the last Catechesis I emphasized how the Eucharist introduces us into real communion with Jesus and his mystery. Now let us ask ourselves several questions that spring from the relationship between the Eucharist that we celebrate and our life, as a Church and as individual Christians. How do we experience the Eucharist? When we go to Sunday Mass, how to we live it? Is it only a moment of celebration, an established tradition, an opportunity to find oneself or to feel justified, or is it something more?

There are very specific signals for understanding how we are living this, how we experience the Eucharist; signals that tell us if we are living the Eucharist in a good way or not very well. The first indicator is our way of looking at or considering others. In the Eucharist, Christ is always renewing his gift of self, which he made on the Cross. His whole life is an act of total sharing of self out of love; thus, he loved to be with his disciples and with the people whom he had a chance to know. This meant for him sharing in their aspirations, their problems, what stirred their soul and their life. Now we, when participating in Holy Mass, we find ourselves with all sorts of men and women: young people, the elderly, children; poor and well-off; locals and strangers alike; people with their families and people who are alone.... But the Eucharist which I celebrate, does it lead me to truly feel they are all like brothers and sisters? Does it increase my capacity to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and cry with those who are crying? Does it urge me to go out to the poor, the sick, the marginalized? Does it help me to recognize in theirs the face of Jesus? We all go to Mass because we love Jesus and we want to share, through the Eucharist, in his passion and his resurrection. But do we love, as Jesus wishes, those brothers and sisters who are the most needy? For example, in Rome these days we have seen much social discomfort either due to the rain, which has caused so much damage to entire districts, or because of the lack of work, a consequence of the global economic crisis. I wonder, and each one of us should wonder: I who go to Mass, how do I live this? Do I try to help, to approach and pray for those in difficulty? Or am I a little indifferent? Or perhaps do I just want to talk: did you see how this or that one is dressed? Sometimes this happens after Mass and it should not! We must concern ourselves with our brothers and sisters who need us because of an illness, a problem. Today, it would do us such good to think of these brothers and sisters of ours who are beset by these problems here in Rome: problems that stem from the grave situation caused by the rain and social instability and unemployment. Let us ask Jesus, whom we receive in the Eucharist, to help us to help them.



Forgiveness and Feeling Forgiven



A second indication, a very important one, is the grace of feeling forgiven and ready to forgive. At times someone may ask: “Why must one go to Church, given that those who regularly participate in Holy Mass are still sinners like the others?”. We have heard it many times! In reality, the one celebrating the Eucharist doesn’t do so because he believes he is or wants to appear better than others, but precisely because he acknowledges that he is always in need of being accepted and reborn by the mercy of God, made flesh in Jesus Christ. If any one of us does not feel in need of the mercy of God, does not see himself as a sinner, it is better for him not to go to Mass! We go to Mass because we are sinners and we want to receive God’s pardon, to participate in the redemption of Jesus, in his forgiveness. The “Confession” which we make at the beginning is not “pro forma”, it is a real act of repentance! I am a sinner and I confess it, this is how the Mass begins! We should never forget that the Last Supper of Jesus took place “on the night he was betrayed” (1 Cor 11:23). In the bread and in the wine which we offer and around which we gather, the gift of Christ’s body and blood is renewed every time for the remission of our sins. We must go to Mass humbly, like sinners and the Lord reconciles us.

A last valuable indication comes to us from the relationship between the Eucharistic Celebration and the life of our Christian communities. We must always bear in mind that the Eucharist is not something we make; it not our own commemoration of what Jesus said and did. No. It is precisely an act of Christ! It is Christ who acts there, who is on the altar. It is a gift of Christ, who makes himself present and gathers us around him, to nourish us with his Word and with his life. This means that the mission and the very identity of the Church flows from there, from the Eucharist, and there always takes its shape. A celebration may be flawless on the exterior, very beautiful, but if it does not lead us to encounter Jesus Christ, it is unlikely to bear any kind of nourishment to our heart and our life. Through the Eucharist, however, Christ wishes to enter into our life and permeate it with his grace, so that in every Christian community there may be coherence between liturgy and life.

The heart fills with trust and hope by pondering on Jesus’ words recounted in the Gospel: “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:54). Let us live the Eucharist with the spirit of faith, of prayer, of forgiveness, of repentance, of communal joy, of concern for the needy and for the needs of so many brothers and sisters, in the certainty that the Lord will fulfil what he has promised us: eternal life. So be it!







The English below is NOT the official Vatican translation





Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, man receives the new life in Christ. Now, we all know, we carry this life “in earthen vessels “(2 Cor 4:7), we are still subject to temptation, suffering, and death, because of sin, we may even lose this new life. For this reason the Lord Jesus has willed that the Church continue his work of salvation even to their own members, in particular with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick, which can be united under the name of “sacraments of healing”. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing. When I go to confession it is for healing, to heal the soul, heal the heart and [thus] something I did not do that well. The biblical image that best expresses them in their deep bond, is the episode of forgiveness and healing of the paralytic, where the Lord Jesus is revealed to be at the same time both physician of souls and bodies (cf. Mk 2:1-12 / / Mt 9,1-8, Lk 5.17-26 ).

Attraverso i Sacramenti dell’iniziazione cristiana, il Battesimo, la Confermazione e l’Eucaristia, l’uomo riceve la vita nuova in Cristo. Ora, tutti lo sappiamo, noi portiamo questa vita «in vasi di creta» (2 Cor 4,7), siamo ancora sottomessi alla tentazione, alla sofferenza, alla morte e, a causa del peccato, possiamo persino perdere la nuova vita. Per questo il Signore Gesù ha voluto che la Chiesa continui la sua opera di salvezza anche verso le proprie membra, in particolare con il Sacramento della Riconciliazione e quello dell’Unzione degli infermi, che possono essere uniti sotto il nome di «Sacramenti di guarigione». Il Sacramento della Riconciliazione è un Sacramento di guarigione. Quando io vado a confessarmi è per guarirmi, guarirmi l’anima, guarirmi il cuore e qualcosa che ho fatto che non va bene. L’icona biblica che li esprime al meglio, nel loro profondo legame, è l’episodio del perdono e della guarigione del paralitico, dove il Signore Gesù si rivela allo stesso tempo medico delle anime e dei corpi (cfr Mc 2,1-12 // Mt 9,1-8; Lc 5,17-26).





1. THE Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation springs directly from the paschal mystery. In fact, the same night of Passover, the Lord appeared to the disciples in the upper room closed, and, after greeting them, “Peace be with you”, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven(Jn 20:21-23 ). This passage reveals the deeper dynamics that is contained in this sacrament. First of all, the fact that the forgiveness of our sins is not something that we can give ourselves. I can not say I forgive sins. Forgiveness is asked, it asks another in confession and ask for forgiveness in Jesus. Forgiveness is not the result of our efforts, but it is a gift, is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who fills us with the washing of mercy and grace that flows incessantly from the heart of the crucified and risen Christ opened. Secondly, it reminds us that if we are reconciled with the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ with our brothers we can be truly in peace. This we have heard it all in my heart when we go to confession, with a weight in the soul, a bit ‘sad, and when we receive the forgiveness of Jesus we are at peace with the peace of the soul so beautiful that only Jesus - only He can give.

1. Il Sacramento della Penitenza e della Riconciliazione scaturisce direttamente dal mistero pasquale. Infatti, la stessa sera di Pasqua il Signore apparve ai discepoli, chiusi nel cenacolo, e, dopo aver rivolto loro il saluto «Pace a voi!», soffiò su di loro e disse: «Ricevete lo Spirito Santo. A coloro a cui perdonerete i peccati, saranno perdonati» (Gv 20,21-23). Questo passo ci svela la dinamica più profonda che è contenuta in questo Sacramento. Anzitutto, il fatto che il perdono dei nostri peccati non è qualcosa che possiamo darci noi. Io non posso dire: mi perdono i peccati. Il perdono si chiede, si chiede a un altro e nella Confessione chiediamo il perdono a Gesù. Il perdono non è frutto dei nostri sforzi, ma è un regalo, è un dono dello Spirito Santo, che ci ricolma del lavacro di misericordia e di grazia che sgorga incessantemente dal cuore spalancato del Cristo crocifisso e risorto. In secondo luogo, ci ricorda che solo se ci lasciamo riconciliare nel Signore Gesù col Padre e con i fratelli possiamo essere veramente nella pace. E questo lo abbiamo sentito tutti nel cuore quando andiamo a confessarci, con un peso nell’anima, un po’ di tristezza; e quando riceviamo il perdono di Gesù siamo in pace, con quella pace dell’anima tanto bella che soltanto Gesù può dare, soltanto Lui.





2. OVER time, the celebration of this sacrament has shifted from the public forum - because in the beginning it was made publicly - to the personal [private] forum, to the manner Confession reserved. However, this should not make us lose the ecclesial matrix, which is the vital context. In fact, the Christian community is the place where this makes the Spirit, who renews our hearts the love of God and makes all the brothers are one in Christ Jesus. Here then why not just ask the Lord’s forgiveness in own mind and in your heart, but you need to confidently and humbly confess their sins to a minister of the Church. In celebration of this sacrament, the priest represents not only God, but the whole community, which recognizes the fragility of each of its members, who listens to his heartfelt repentance, who is reconciled with him, so that each is heartened and accompanied on the journey of conversion and human and Christian maturity. 2. Nel tempo, la celebrazione di questo Sacramento è passata da una forma pubblica - perché all’inizio si faceva pubblicamente - a quella personale, alla forma riservata della Confessione. Questo però non deve far perdere la matrice ecclesiale, che costituisce il contesto vitale. Infatti, è la comunità cristiana il luogo in cui si rende presente lo Spirito, il quale rinnova i cuori nell’amore di Dio e fa di tutti i fratelli una cosa sola, in Cristo Gesù. Ecco allora perché non basta chiedere perdono al Signore nella propria mente e nel proprio cuore, ma è necessario confessare umilmente e fiduciosamente i propri peccati al ministro della Chiesa. Nella celebrazione di questo Sacramento, il sacerdote non rappresenta soltanto Dio, ma tutta la comunità, che si riconosce nella fragilità di ogni suo membro, che ascolta commossa il suo pentimento, che si riconcilia con lui, che lo rincuora e lo accompagna nel cammino di conversione e maturazione umana e cristiana.
  Confession to a priest - and thus to the community  
One can say : I confess only to God Yes, you can say to God, “Forgive me,” and tell your sins, but our sins are also against the brethren, against the Church. For this you need to ask forgiveness for the Church, brothers, in the person of the priest. Uno può dire: io mi confesso soltanto con Dio. Sì, tu puoi dire a Dio “perdonami”, e dire i tuoi peccati, ma i nostri peccati sono anche contro i fratelli, contro la Chiesa. Per questo è necessario chiedere perdono alla Chiesa, ai fratelli, nella persona del sacerdote.
  Healthy Shame  

 “But father, I am ashamed... “. Even shame is good, it is healthy to have a little ‘ shame, because shame is healthy. When a person has no shame, in my country we say it is a “shameless “, a “sin verguenza.” But the shame is good, because it makes us more humble, and the priest receives with love and tenderness with this confession and pardon in the name of God. Even from a human point of view, to let off steam, it’s good to talk with his brother and tell the priest those things which are so heavy in my heart. And one feels that is unleashed before God, with the Church, with his brother. Do not be afraid of Confession! A person, when they are in the line for confession, senses all these things, even shame, but then when they finish Confession, they emerge free, upright, beautiful, forgiven, pure, happy. And this is the beauty of Confession! I would like to ask you - but do not tell aloud, everyone responds in his heart - when was the last time you confessed that you confessed? Everyone there... I think two days, two weeks, two years, twenty years, forty years? Each face of the bill, but everyone will say, when was the last time I went to confession ? And if it’s been a long time, do not waste one more day - see,  the priest will be good. And Jesus there; and Jesus is more than good priests, Jesus receives you, receives you with so much love. Be brave and go to Confession

“Ma padre, io mi vergogno...”. Anche la vergogna è buona, è salute avere un po’ di vergogna, perché vergognarsi è salutare. Quando una persona non ha vergogna, nel mio Paese diciamo che è un “senza vergogna”: un “sin verguenza”. Ma anche la vergogna fa bene, perché ci fa più umili, e il sacerdote riceve con amore e con tenerezza questa confessione e in nome di Dio perdona. Anche dal punto di vista umano, per sfogarsi, è buono parlare con il fratello e dire al sacerdote queste cose, che sono tanto pesanti nel mio cuore. E uno sente che si sfoga davanti a Dio, con la Chiesa, con il fratello. Non avere paura della Confessione! Uno, quando è in coda per confessarsi, sente tutte queste cose, anche la vergogna, ma poi quando finisce la Confessione esce libero, grande, bello, perdonato, bianco, felice. E’ questo il bello della Confessione! Io vorrei domandarvi - ma non ditelo a voce alta, ognuno si risponda nel suo cuore -: quando è stata l’ultima volta che ti sei confessato, che ti sei confessata? Ognuno ci pensi… Sono due giorni, due settimane, due anni, vent’anni, quarant’anni? Ognuno faccia il conto, ma ognuno si dica: quando è stata l’ultima volta che io mi sono confessato? E se è passato tanto tempo, non perdere un giorno di più, vai, che il sacerdote sarà buono. E’ Gesù lì, e Gesù è più buono dei preti, Gesù ti riceve, ti riceve con tanto amore. Sii coraggioso e vai alla Confessione!





3. DEAR friends, to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation means to be enfolded up in a warm embrace: is the embrace of the infinite mercy of the Father. Recall that beautiful, beautiful parable of the son who has gone to his house with the money of the inheritance; wasted all the money, and then, when she had nothing, she decided to go home, not as a son, but as a servant. So much guilt in his heart and had so much shame. The surprise was that when he began to speak, to ask for forgiveness, the father would not let him speak, embraced him, kissed him, and made the party. But I tell you, every time we confess, God embraces us, God makes the party! Let us go forward on this path. May God bless you!

3. Cari amici, celebrare il Sacramento della Riconciliazione significa essere avvolti in un abbraccio caloroso: è l’abbraccio dell’infinita misericordia del Padre. Ricordiamo quella bella, bella parabola del figlio che se n’è andato da casa sua con i soldi dell’eredità; ha sprecato tutti i soldi, e poi, quando non aveva più niente, ha deciso di tornare a casa, non come figlio, ma come servo. Tanta colpa aveva nel suo cuore e tanta vergogna. La sorpresa è stata che quando incominciò a parlare, a chiedere perdono, il padre non lo lasciò parlare, lo abbracciò, lo baciò e fece festa. Ma io vi dico: ogni volta che noi ci confessiamo, Dio ci abbraccia, Dio fa festa! Andiamo avanti su questa strada. Che Dio vi benedica!











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