.- Presiding at Mass this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica for the repose for the sould of the cardinals and bishops who have died this year, Pope John Paul II said in his homily that the deceased “tasted with faith” the eternal banquet in heaven during their earthly pilgrimmage in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
"The mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ will be fulfilled in Easter,” said the Pope at the beginning of his homily. “It is a mystery which is constantly renewed in the Eucharist, mystical banquet, in which the Messiah delivers Himself as nourishment to the guests, to unite them to Him in a bond of love and life that is stronger than death.”
“Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we participate in the Lord's supper which gives us a foretaste of the heavenly glory," said the Holy Father.
The Pope recalled "with affection, in a special way, Cardinals Paulos Tzadua, Opilio Rossi, Franz Koenig, Hyacinthe Thiandoum, Marcelo Gonzalez Martin, Juan Francisco Fresno Larrain, James Aloysius Hickey and Gustaaf Joos. Let us pray for them and for the archbishops and bishops who died this year, whom we entrust with filial trust to divine mercy."
"Thinking about them and their generous service to the Church," he said, "it is as if we can hear them repeat with the Apostle Paul: 'Hope never disappoints'!"
"God is faithful and our hope in Him is not in vain,” affirmed the Pope. “Let us give thanks to Our Lord for all the benefits He has granted to the Church through the priestly ministry of these deceased pastors. Let us invoke the maternal intercession of Our Lady so that they may participate in the eternal banquet, the same banquet that they tasted with faith during their earthly pilgrimage."