By Vatican News staff writer
Presiding over the Corpus Christi Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis in his homily reflected on three images present in the passage from Mark's Gospel read in the day's liturgy.
The first image is that of the man carrying a pitcher of water, the guide who would bring the disciples to the Upper Room. The Pope said this image can be seen as a call to recognize “our thirst for God, to sense our need for Him, to long for His presence and love, to realize that we cannot go it alone, but need the Food and Drink of eternal life to sustain us on our journey.” The sad thing is that in modern times, this thirst for God has become weaker, the Pope observed, and the Church today is called “to encounter people and to learn how to recognize and revive their thirst for God and their desire for the Gospel.”
The second image the Pope mentioned was that of the Upper Room where Jesus and His disciples would celebrate the Passover meal. He noted that it was “a large room for a tiny piece of Bread,” symbolizing how “God makes Himself tiny, like a morsel of bread”, and why we “need a great heart to be able to recognize, adore and receive Him.” The Pope went on to say that we need to open up the spaces of our hearts to break out of ourselves and enter the large space of the Upper Room to experience “the vast expanse of wonder and adoration” of God’s humble, boundless, loving presence. That is why adoration represents “the attitude we need in the presence of the Eucharist,” he said.
Pope Francis added the Church, too, must be a large room, and not a small, closed space, but instead, “a community with arms wide open, welcoming to all” where everyone can enter. He recalled that “the Eucharist is meant to nourish those who are weary and hungry along the way” and that “a Church of the pure and perfect is a room with no place for anyone.”
The last image from today’s Gospel recalls Jesus breaking the Bread, “the Eucharistic gesture par excellence.” Pope Francis called this the “distinctive sign of our faith…where we encounter the Lord who offers Himself so that we can be reborn to new life.” Jesus becomes the Lamb offering Himself in sacrifice in order to give us life, he explained, and so “in the Eucharist, we contemplate and worship the God of love.” Here we appreciate the Lord’s boundless love and gift to us, and that by “celebrating and experiencing the Eucharist” we share in this love, but our hearts must be open to our brothers and sisters by sharing in their sufferings and helping them in their needs. He said our Eucharistic celebrations transform the world in as much as we allow ourselves “to be transformed and to become bread broken for others.”
In conclusion, Pope Francis recalled the procession with the Blessed Sacrament, the hallmark of the feast of Corpus Christi, “reminds us that we are called to go out and bring Jesus to others.” He encouraged everyone to do so with enthusiasm, “bringing Christ to those we meet in our daily lives,” also as a community of believers, a Church that becomes a “large and welcoming room where everyone can enter and meet the Lord.”