"We Christians go to Mass on Sundays to meet the Risen Lord, or better to let ourselves be met by Him, listen to His word, feed ourselves at His table, and thus become Church, or His mystical living Body in the world today". "We need to participate in Sunday Mass because only with the grace of Jesus, with His living presence in us and among us, we can be His credible witnesses".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "We do not go to Mass to give something to God, but to receive from Him what we really need", to find in the encounter with Jesus "the strength to live today with trust and courage and to move forward with hope "and know how to be His witnesses.
"Why go to Mass on Sundays?" Was the theme of Pope Francis’ general audience today continuing the cycle of catechesis dedicated to the celebration of the Eucharist.
To the eight thousand people present in the Paul VI hall, the Pope said that "the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is at the center of the life of the Church (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2177). We Christians go to Mass on Sundays to meet the Risen Lord, or better to let ourselves be met by Him, listen to His word, feed ourselves at His table, and thus become Church, or His mystical living Body in the world today".
The Sunday celebration, Francis recalled, is "Christian", because on that day there was the first meeting of the disciples with the risen Jesus. "Also the great outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost took place on Sunday, the fiftieth day after the resurrection of Jesus. For these reasons, Sunday is a holy day for us, sanctified by the Eucharistic celebration, the living presence of the Lord among us and for us. It is the Mass, therefore, that makes Sunday Christian! What is Sunday, for a Christian, in which there is no meeting with the Lord? There are Christian communities that, unfortunately, cannot enjoy Mass every Sunday; however, on this holy day they are called to gather in prayer in the name of the Lord, listening to the Word of God and keeping alive the desire of the Eucharist ".
"Some secularized societies have lost the Christian meaning of Sunday illuminated by the Eucharist. In these contexts it is necessary to revive this awareness, in order to recover the meaning of the feast, of joy, of the parish community, of solidarity, of rest that restores the soul and the body (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos.2777-2188). Of all these values there is the Eucharist, Sunday after Sunday ".
"Without Christ we are condemned to be dominated by the fatigue of everyday life, with its worries, and by the fear of tomorrow. The Sunday encounter with the Lord gives us the strength to live today with trust and courage and to move forward with hope. This is why we Christians go to meet the Lord on Sunday. The Eucharistic Communion with Jesus, Risen and Living in eternity, anticipates the Sunday without sunset, when there will be no more effort, neither pain nor grief or tears, but only the joy of living fully and forever with the Lord. Also of this blessed rest the Mass of Sunday speaks to us, teaching us, in the flow of the week, to entrust ourselves to the hands of the Father who is in heaven ".
"In conclusion, why go to Mass on Sundays? It is not enough to answer that it is a precept of the Church; this helps to preserve its value, but it is not enough alone. We Christians need to participate in Sunday Mass because only with the grace of Jesus, with his living presence in us and among us, can we put into practice His commandment, and thus be His credible witnesses".
Greeting the Arab faithful the Pope added: “Let us remember that, just as every plant needs the sun and nourishment to live, every Christian needs the Sunday Eucharist to really live".
During the meeting, Francis also greeted the participants in the International Forum of Catholic-inspired NGOs, who had gathered in Rome these days, expressing "deep appreciation" for their efforts to "bring the light of the Gospel to the various the peripheries of our world, to defend the dignity of man, to promote the integral development of peoples, and to meet the material and spiritual needs of many members of our human family ".