During the celebration of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which took place in the square facing the Basilica of St. John Lateran’s, Pope Benedict XVI highlighted the necessity for Christians to encounter Christ in order to be able to proclaim Him to all nations.
The Holy Father spoke of the relationship between Corpus Christi and Holy Thursday saying, “In this celebration the Church relives the mystery of Holy Thursday in light of the Resurrection.” “During the Holy Thursday procession,” he went on, “the Church accompanies Jesus to the Mount of Olives. It is the desire of the praying Church to watch with Jesus, to not leave Him alone on the night of his betrayal, of the indifference of so many. During today’s feast, we take up this procession again in the joy of the Resurrection.”
The Pope underscored that “the Lord has risen and goes before us” in two directions: “The first is towards Galilee,” inviting all to evangelize and spread the Gospel to all peoples; the second is “towards the Father,” as Jesus “ascends to the heights of God and invites us to follow Him.”
These two directions “together point to the way of following Christ. The true goal is communion with Christ. We can live with Christ on the streets of Galilee, bringing the Gospel to all nations, bringing the gift of his love to the men and women of all times.”
Referring specifically to the procession that would take place immediately after Mass, the Pope explained it as a “symbolic response to the command of the Lord in Galilee to bring the Gospel to the world.”
“The power of the sacrament of the Eucharist goes beyond the walls of our Churches, the Lord is always on the way towards the world. We carry Christ present in the form of bread through the streets of our city,” the Pope added.
“May our streets belong to Jesus, may our homes belong to Him and be for Him! With this gesture we place under his eyes the suffering of the infirm, our temptations, our fears, our entire lives.”
“To eat this bread is to communicate, to enter into communion with the person of the living Lord. This act of eating is really the encounter of two persons and letting oneself be penetrated by the life of the One who is Lord, who is my Creator and Redeemer. This communion implies following Christ,” the Pope said.
“Our procession ends in front of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in the encounter with the Virgin called the Eucharistic Woman.” “Let us pray to her that she may help us be open to the presence of Christ, to follow him day after day throughout our lives,” he concluded.