Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Christian life, like a plant or a tree, cannot flourish if the roots are cut off, and the root is Jesus. Pope Francis greeted people present at the general audience this Wednesday wishing them all a “Happy Spring” and by asking them in unscripted remarks if “a plant that is ill can bloom? Or a tree that has no roots? without roots it cannot flourish. Christian life is a life that must flourish in works of charity and doing good, but if you do not have the root and the root is Jesus, and if you do not water your life with prayer and the sacraments you will not bear flowers, I hope this Spring flourishes. Remember a blossoming tree depends on what it has under the soil. Never cut your roots with Jesus”.
Then Francis continued his catechesis dedicated to the Mass with those present in St. Peter’s square and spoke of Communion, to which the celebration is “directed”. “Let us celebrate the Eucharist in order to nourish ourselves in Christ, who gives us himself both in the Word and in the Sacrament of the Altar, to conform ourselves to him. The Lord himself says:” He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me. and I in him “(Jn 6:56). In fact, Christ’s gesture when he gave his Body and Blood to his disciples in the Last Supper, continues today through the ministry of the priest and deacon, ordinary ministers of distribution of the Bread of life and the Cup of Salvation to their brethren”.
“After having broken the consecrated Bread, the priest shows it to the faithful, inviting them to participate in the Eucharistic banquet. We know the words that resonate from the holy altar: “Blessed are the those who are called to the Lord’s Supper: This is the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world”. Inspired by a passage from the Apocalypse – “blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb” (Rev 19,9) – this invitation calls us to experience the intimate union with Christ, source of joy and holiness. It is an invitation that rejoices and at the same time leads to an examination of conscience illuminated by faith. If on the one hand, in fact, we see the distance that separates us from the holiness of Christ, on the other we believe that his Blood is “shed for the remission of sins”. And do not forget, Jesus always forgives, it is we who are tired of asking to be forgiven. Precisely thinking of the salvific value of this Blood, St. Ambrose exclaims: “I who always sin, I must always dispose of medicine” (De sacramentis, 4, 28: PL 16, 446A). In this faith, we too turn our gaze to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and invoke him: “O Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof: but only say the word and my soul shall be saved.”
Even if we move in procession to make Communion, it is actually Christ who comes to us to assimilate us to himself. To feed oneself on the Eucharist means to allow oneself be changed as we receive. Saint Augustine helps us to understand it, when he tells us about the light received in being told by Christ: “I am the food of strong men; grow, and you shall feed upon me; nor shall you convert me, like the food of your flesh, into you, but you shall be converted into me.” (Confessions VII, 10, 16: PL 32, 742). Every time we make communion we are conformed more to Jesus. As bread and wine are converted into the Body and Blood of the Lord, so those who receive them with faith are transformed into a living Eucharist. To the priest who, by distributing the Eucharist, tells you: “The Body of Christ”, you answer: “Amen”, that is to say, you recognize the grace and commitment that entails becoming the Body of Christ. Because when you receive the Eucharist you become the Body of Christ. While it unites us to Christ, tearing us from our selfishness, Communion opens and unites us to all those who are one in Him. Here is the prodigy of Communion: we become what we receive! “.
“The Eucharistic Liturgy is concluded by the oration after Communion. In it, on behalf of everyone, the priest turns to God to thank him for making us his guests and to ask that what has been received transforms our life. The Eucharist makes us strong to bring forth the flowers of good works. Today’s prayer is significant, in which we ask the Lord that “participation in his sacrament should be for us salvation medicine, heal us from evil and confirm us in his friendship” (Roman Missal, Wednesday of the 5th week of Lent) . Let us draw closer to the Eucharist that transforms us into Him. So good, so great is the Lord “.
The Pope then addressed a group of Irish pilgrims who brought to Rome the icon of the ninth World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Dublin in the month of August. Francis himself confirmed today, he will be present at the meeting on 25 and 26 August.