Pope Benedict calls Eucharist ‘antidote’ to modern ills
By David Kerr

.- The Eucharist is the medicine which can heal our individualist society, Pope Benedict XVI said in his midday Angelus address on Corpus Christi Sunday.

“In an increasingly individualistic culture in which Western societies are immersed - and which is tending to spread throughout the world - the Eucharist is a kind of ‘antidote’ which operates in the minds and hearts of believers and is continually sowing in them the logic of communion, of service, of sharing - in other words, the logic of the Gospel,” said Pope Benedict to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square on June 26.

Catholics believe that the bread and wine offered by Christ at the Last Supper literally became his body and blood - and that this same miracle is repeated by priests at every Mass since. Hence the name of today’s festivity – "Corpus Christi" Sunday or "Body of Christ" Sunday. 

“From the Eucharist,” observed the Pope, “the Risen Christ is truly present among his disciples and working with the power of the Holy Spirit. And in the following generations through the centuries, the Church, despite the limitations and human errors, has continued to be a force for communion throughout the world.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the Eucharist as the “source and summit” of Christian life. As the Pope bluntly put it today, “without the Eucharist, the Church simply does not exist.”

The Pope noted this belief in the centrality of the Eucharist has manifested itself throughout the history of the Church, beginning with the earliest Christian communities in Jerusalem who shared all possessions in common.

“From what came all this? From the Eucharist that is the Risen Christ, truly present among his disciples and working with the power of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope said. 

He then drew upon the example of the fourth century Abitene martyrs from North Africa who chose to die rather than deprive themselves of Sunday Mass in the face of Roman persecution. They proclaimed “Sine Dominico non possumus - without the ‘Dominicum’ - without the Sunday Eucharist, we cannot live.” 

Pope Benedict concluded by urging all pilgrims to turn to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was described by Pope John Paul II as the “Woman of the Eucharist.”
 
“At her school, our lives become fully ‘Eucharistic,’ open to God and others, capable of transforming evil into good with the power of love, striving to promote unity, fellowship, brotherhood.”

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