Reconcile your differences before approaching the altar, Benedict XVI preaches


Before reciting the Angelus on Sunday morning, Pope Benedict traveled to the small town of Albano to dedicate a new altar at its cathedral and to celebrate Mass. Pope Benedict’s message to the congregation of San Pancrazio was to work at continuously communicating their differences and to forgive one another before approaching the Eucharistic altar.

The homily of the Holy Father first touched on the "the love of Christ, charity 'which never ends'," and how this love is "the spiritual energy that unites all those who participate in the same sacrifice and who draw nourishment from the one Bread, broken for the salvation of the world.”

The Pope asked, "Is it in fact possible to communicate with the Lord if we do not communicate with each other? How then can we present ourselves at God's altar divided and distant from one another?"

Turning the congregation’s attention to the altar that he was about to dedicate, Benedict encouraged them to "be a constant invitation to love.” To this altar “you will always come with your hearts ready to accept and to spread the love of Christ, to receive and to grant forgiveness,” he added.

"Each time you come to the altar for the celebration of the Eucharist," the Pope reiterated, "may your souls open to forgiveness and fraternal reconciliation, be ready to accept the excuses of those who have hurt you and ready, in your turn, to forgive."

Benedict XVI went on to explain that "each Eucharistic celebration anticipates Christ's triumph over sin and over the world. And, in the mystery, it demonstrates the splendor of the Church, 'spotless spouse of the spotless Lamb, whom Christ loved and for whom He delivered Himself up that He might sanctify her'."

The Catholics of Albano were also challenged "to grow in charity and in apostolic and missionary dedication, by the Pope.

“What this means in concrete terms," he said, "is bearing witness with your lives to your faith in Christ and to the complete trust you place in Him. It also means cultivating ecclesial communion, which is above all a gift, a grace, the fruit of God's free and gratuitous love, in other words something that is divinely effective, ever present and operative in history, over and above any appearance to the contrary."

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