The celebration and proclamation of the Eucharist and the Pascal Mystery are like oxygen for the whole Church and continually rejuvenate the community of the faithful, said Alfonso Cardinal López Trujillo on Holy Thursday.
Cardinal Trujillo presided at the 5:30 p.m. mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome on behalf of Pope John Paul II. This is the first Holy Thursday mass that the Pope has not celebrated in his 26-year pontificate.
"In this Year of the Eucharist, we see cleary how the Church lives by the Eucharist," said the head of the Congregation for the Family. "The Eucharist is the whole of the Pascal Mystery."
In his homily, the cardinal also spoke of the alienation and dehumanization in the current society. "The tragedy of man resides in not understanding how much he is loved by God," he said.
Man is often closed to the dialogue of love that God initiated at the time of Creation, and this mentality has often led man to view God as an obstable to his liberty and freedom, the cardinal explained.
But this is a "false dilemma," said the cardinal, for the love of God redeems and liberates.
He cited the Pope repeated denunciations of the "ideology of evil" - an ideology rooted in the refusal of the profound nature of humanity.
This ideology is evident in certain current political projects that run counter to the identity and the mission of the family and the dignity of life, which are inseparable and desired by God for the love of all humanity, the cardinal said.
In a culture that privileges pleasure, fears great suffering and idolizes empty models of truth, "the Master exerts of his disciples to take the cross" and "the Church invites us to adore the one Lord, Tu solus Dominus," Cardinal Trujillo said.
"It is a scandal when those who say they are Chirstian betray this love [of God] with violence, alienation, and contempt for the poor; it is an abuse that - invoking the name of God and even in the name of God - they plant hatred, conflict and terrorism," the cardinal continued.
"The weekest, the innocent, the defenseless, the sick are often considered a heavy burden," the cardinal continued. "Man is not the arbitrator of life and cannot deny this precious gift. We cannot hate that which God loves.
"The Eucharist," he said, "softens the heart of the human family for the poor and the needy ... and in recognition and respect of the rights of man and the rights of the family, which are fundamental."
The cardinal then offered prayers for the ailing Pope: "Immersed in this Pascal Mystery, our fervent prayer is for the Holy Father, strenous defender and witness of true quality of life."
The mass continued with the washing of the feet of 12 priests, reenacting Christ's actions when he washed the feet of his 12 Apostles.
The collection at the mass was entrusted to the Holy Father to be redirected to the Venezuelan people, who were struck with a devastating flood in February.