Corpus Christi Sunday - this is My Body, ... this is My Blood
Pope Benedict XVI during His homily delivered on last Thursday (the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in Europe) was warning of a "serpentine secularization that penetrates the Church and is manifested in formal and empty Eucharistic worship."
The Holy Father illustrated the importance of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, telling the thousands of pilgrims that this faith "cannot be taken for granted."
"Today there arises the risk of a serpentine secularization even within the Church, which can convert into a formal and empty Eucharistic worship. The celebrations lacking deep participation from the heart that is expressed in veneration and respect for the liturgy can easily slip into an empty and external activism.
The temptation is always strong to reduce prayer to superficial and hurried moments, letting oneself be carried away by earthly activities and worries. The Eucharist is the bread of eternal life of the new world that is given us today in the holy Mass, so that starting now the future world begins in us.
With the Eucharist, therefore, heaven comes down to earth, the tomorrow of God descends into the present and it is as if time remains embraced by divine eternity.
Stay with us, Christ, give to us the gift of yourself and give us the bread that nourishes us for eternal life. Free this world from the venom of evil, of violence and of hate, which contaminate consciences; purify it with the power of your merciful love." – He prayed.
Addressing his remarks to priests, the Holy Father said: "Becoming the Eucharist: let this be our constant desire and commitment! So that the offer of the Body and Blood of the Lord we make upon the altar may be accompanied by the sacrifice of our own lives. Every day we draw from the Body and Blood of the Lord the free and pure love that makes us worthy ministers of Christ and witnesses to His joy. What the faithful expect from a priest is the example of authentic devotion to the Eucharist. They like to see him spend long periods of silence and adoration before Jesus, as did the saint 'Cure of Ars' whom we will especially recall during the imminent Year for Priests".
"Aware that, because of sin, we are inadequate, yet needing to nourish ourselves from the love the Lord offers us in the Eucharistic Sacrament, this evening we renew our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Such faith must not be taken for granted!
Today there is a risk of insidious secularisation, even inside the Church. This could translate into a formal but empty Eucharistic worship, in celebrations lacking that involvement of the heart which finds expression in veneration and respect for the liturgy.
There is always a strong temptation to reduce prayer to superficial and hurried moments, allowing ourselves to be overcome by earthly activities and concerns".
"With the Eucharist heaven comes down to earth, God's tomorrow descends into the present moment and time is, as it were, embraced by divine eternity".