Today Francis began a cycle of catechesis devoted to the value and significance of Mass. "We cannot forget the great number of Christians who, throughout the world, in two thousand years of history, have endured to death to defend the Eucharist; and those who, even today, risk their life to participate in Sunday Mass. "
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "No phones" to take photos during Mass, which "is not a show", it is Jesus who comes among the faithful and should be welcomed with respect. The celebration of the Mass is the theme of the new cycle of catechesis for the general audience that Pope Francis began today revealing his "great sadness" when during a celebration he sees people, "even some priests and bishops", taking photos. One resounding "remember: no phones" concluded this reflection.
To the estimated 20,000 people in St. Peter's Square, the Pope explained the choice of the new cycle of catechesis, saying that "it is fundamental for us Christians to understand the value and meaning of the Holy Mass in order to fully experience our relationship with God" .
He added: “We cannot forget the great number of Christians who, throughout the world, in two thousand years of history, have endured to death to defend the Eucharist; and those who, even today, risk their life to participate in Sunday Mass. " In this regard, in greeting Polish faithful, he recalled that "on Sunday, on the initiative of the Polish Bishops' Conference and of the Aid to the Church in Need, you will celebrate the ninth Day of Solidarity with the persecuted Church, spiritually and materially sustaining the brothers and sisters of the Middle East. Your prayers and offerings are a concrete help and a sign of the bond with all the sufferers of the world in the name of Christ. "
The Pope recalled that the Eucharist is based on the words that "Jesus said to his disciples," If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day "(Jn 6: 53-54).
In the year 304 during the persecution of Diocletian, Christians who were killed because they celebrated the Eucharist "gave witness to the fact that we can renounce our earthly life for the Eucharist, for it gives us eternal life, making us part of the victory of Christ over death. A testimony that calls out to us all and asks for our response on what it means for each of us to participate in the Sacrifice of Mass and approach the Lord's table. Are we looking for the source of 'living water, for eternal life' that makes our lives a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving and makes us one body with Christ? This is the deepest sense of the Holy Eucharist, which means 'thanksgiving': thanksgiving to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who engages us and transforms us in His communion of love. "
Vatican II, added the Pope, "was strongly animated by the desire to lead Christians to understand the greatness of faith and the beauty of the encounter with Christ." "A central theme that the Fathers emphasized is the liturgical formation of the faithful, indispensable for a true renewal. And this is also the purpose of this cycle of catechesis that we begin today: to grow in the knowledge of the great gift God has given us in the Eucharist. "
"The Eucharist is a wonderful event in which Jesus Christ, our life, makes himself known to us. Participating in Mass "means to live the Lord's redeeming passion and death once more. It is a theophany: the Lord is present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world "(Homily at Casa Santa Marta, February 10, 2014). The Lord is here with us, present. We often go there, look at things, chat with each other while the priest celebrates the Eucharist ... and we do not celebrate with Him. But it is the Lord! If today the President of the Republic or some very important person of the world came here, it is certain that we would all want to be near him, that we would like to greet him. But think: when you go to Mass, the Lord is there! And you're distracted. It is the Lord! We have to think about this. 'Father, Mass is boring' - 'But what are you saying, the Lord is boring?' - 'No, no, no, the priests' -' Ah, convert the priests, but it is the Lord who is there!'. Got it? Do not forget it. "Participating in the Mass is to live the Lord's passion and redeeming death once again."
Let's try and ask a few simple questions. For example, why is the sign of the cross and the penitential act at the beginning of Mass? And here I would like to digress. Have you seen how the children make the sign of the cross? You do not know what they are doing, whether it's the sign of the cross or a drawing. They do it like this [the Pope makes a confused gesture]. We need to teach the children to make the sign of the cross well. This is how the Mass begins, this is how life begins, this is how the day begins. This means that we are redeemed by the Lord's Cross. Look at the children and teach them to make the sign of the cross well. And those Readings, in Mass, why are they there? Why do you read the Three Readings on Sunday and the other days two? Why are they there, what does the Mass Reading mean? Why do they read them and what are they doing? Or why, at one point, does the priest who presides over the celebration say, 'Raise up your hearts?' He does not say, 'Raise up your phones to take photos!' No, it's a bad thing! And I tell you that it makes me so sad when I celebrate here in Piazza or Basilica and I see so many raised mobiles, not just of the faithful, even of some priests and even bishops. But please! Mass is not a show: it is to meet the passion and resurrection of the Lord. This is why the priest says, 'Raise up your hearts.' What does this mean? Remember: no phones.
It is very important to go back to the foundations, to rediscover what is essential, through what is touched and seen in the celebration of the Sacraments. The question of St. Thomas the Apostle (cf. Jn 20: 25), to see and touch the wounds of nails in Jesus' body, is the desire to somehow 'touch' God in believing Him. What St. Thomas asks the Lord is what we all need: to see Him, and to touch Him to recognize Him. The sacraments meet this human need. The sacraments, and the Eucharistic celebration in particular, are the signs of God's love, the privileged ways to meet with Him.
Thus, through these catechesis that begin today, I would like to rediscover the beauty that is hidden in the Eucharistic celebration with you, and which, once revealed, gives full meaning to everyone's life. May Our Lady accompany us in this new stretch of road. "