On the solemnity of Corpus Domini, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Altar of the Chair with some dozens of worshippers wearing masks and keeping at the correct social distance. The Eucharist, said the pontiff, heals us from "orphaned memory", "negative memory", "sadness", and "closed memory". It " reminds us that we are not only mouths to be fed, but also his hands, to be used to help feed others." Francis also stressed the value of the Mass and adoration.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated Mass on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. In view of the ongoing pandemic, the celebration took place at the Altar of the Chair, in St Peter’s basilica. However, this time, together with the celebrants and the choir, there were dozens of worshippers scattered along the benches wearing masks.
In his homily, the pontiff stressed how that Eucharist is the “Memorial that heals our memory,” affected by forgetfulness, lack of love, and negativity. It ignites our desire to serve and create “chains of solidarity” with those who are hungry, jobless or poor.
The Holy Father stressed first of all the value of memory. “Without [it] we become strangers to ourselves, ‘passers-by’ of existence. Without memory, we uproot ourselves from the soil that nourishes us and allow ourselves to be carried away like leaves in the wind.”
“Memory is not something private; it is the path that unites us to God and to others. [. . .] God knows how difficult it is, he knows how weak our memory is, and he has done something remarkable: he left us a memorial. He did not just leave us words, for it is easy to forget what we hear. He did not just leave us the Scriptures, for it is easy to forget what we read. He did not just leave us signs, for we can forget even what we see. He gave us Food, for it is not easy to forget something we have actually tasted. He left us Bread in which he is truly present, alive and true, with all the flavour of his love.”
The Pope listed the forms of healing the Eucharist can bring about. “The Eucharist heals orphaned memory. So many people have memories marked by a lack of affection and bitter disappointments caused by those who should have given them love and instead orphaned their hearts. We would like to go back and change the past, but we cannot. God, however, can heal these wounds by placing within our memory a greater love: his own love. The Eucharist brings us the Father’s faithful love, which heals our sense of being orphans.”
“Through the Eucharist, the Lord also heals our negative memory, [. . .], which drags to the surface things that have gone wrong and leaves us with the sorry notion that we are useless, that we only make mistakes, that we are ourselves a mistake. Jesus comes to tell us that this is not so. He wants to be close to us. Every time we receive him, he reminds us that we are precious, that we are guests he has invited to his banquet, friends with whom he wants to dine.”
“With Jesus, we can become immune to sadness. We will always remember our failures, troubles, problems at home and at work, our unrealized dreams. But their weight will not crush us because Jesus is present even more deeply, encouraging us with his love. This is the strength of the Eucharist, which transforms us into bringers of God, bringers of joy, not negativity.”
“Finally, the Eucharist heals our closed memory. The wounds we keep inside create problems not only for us, but also for others. They make us fearful and suspicious. We start with being closed, and end up cynical and indifferent. Our wounds can lead us to react to others with detachment and arrogance, in the illusion that in this way we can control situations. Yet that is indeed an illusion, for only love can heal fear at its root and free us from the self-centredness that imprisons us.
“The Lord, offering himself to us in the simplicity of bread, also invites us not to waste our lives in chasing the myriad illusions that we think we cannot do without, yet that leave us empty within. The Eucharist satisfies our hunger for material things and kindles our desire to serve. It raises us from our comfortable and lazy lifestyle and reminds us that we are not only mouths to be fed, but also his hands, to be used to help feed others. It is especially urgent now to take care of those who hunger for food and for dignity, of those without work and those who struggle to carry on. And this we must do in a real way, as real as the Bread that Jesus gives us. Genuine closeness is needed, as are true bonds of solidarity. In the Eucharist, Jesus draws close to us: let us not turn away from those around us!”
This emphasis on concreteness reflects his Message for the World Day of the Poor, which was released yesterday. In it, Francis calls for an effective and personal show of solidarity towards people who find themselves in situations of neglect and extreme poverty because of the pandemic.
“Dear brothers and sisters, let us continue our celebration of Holy Mass: the Memorial that heals our memory. Let us never forget: the Mass is the Memorial that heals memory, the memory of the heart. The Mass is the treasure that should be foremost both in the Church and in our lives. And let us also rediscover Eucharistic adoration, which continues the work of the Mass within us. This will do us much good, for it heals us within. Especially now, when our need is so great.”
The Mass was followed by a brief Eucharistic adoration, accompanied by the Adoro Te devote. Francis ended the service blessing the assembly with the ostensorium.