Pope: sorrow for violence in Nicaragua, dialogue and respect needed
Through the Eucharist "we experience the New Covenant, which fully realises the communion between God and us. And as participants in this Covenant, we, however small and poor, work together on building history as God wants it.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In his Angelus address, Pope Francis expressed “sorrow” over the violence that has gripped Nicaragua and left scores of people dead and wounded. In view of the situation, the pontiff has called for dialogue, which needs respect.
In doing so, Francis joined Nicaragua’s bishops "in expressing sorrow for the serious violence, with dead and wounded, carried out by armed groups to repress social protests. I pray for the victims and their families.”
“The Church,” he added, “is always for dialogue, but this requires an active commitment to respect freedom and, above all, life. I pray for an end to the violence and that conditions be set for the resumption of dialogue as soon as possible."
Earlier, before the recitation of the Marian prayer, the pope told the 20,000 people present in St Peter's Square that every time we celebrate the Eucharist, "we experience the New Covenant, which fully realises the communion between God and us. And as participants in this Covenant, we, however small and poor, work together on building up history as God wants it."
Illustrating the meaning of today's celebration of the Corpus Domini, or the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the Pope noted that "today in many countries, including Italy, the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated, or, according to the most famous Latin expression, of Corpus Domini.
“The Gospel brings us the words of Jesus, spoken at the Last Supper with his disciples: “Take it; this is my body [. . .] This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed* for many" (Mk 14:22-24). Precisely because of that testament of love, the Christian community gathers every Sunday, and every day, around the Eucharist, the sacrament of the redemptive Sacrifice of Christ. Attracted by his real presence, Christians worship him and contemplate him through the humble sign of the bread that became his Body.
“Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, through this sober and so solemn sacrament, we experience the New Covenant, which fully realises the communion between God and us. And as participants in this Covenant, we, however small and poor, work together on building history as God wants it. Therefore, every Eucharistic celebration, whilst it constitutes an act of public worship to God, refers to life and the concrete events of our existence.
“Whilst we nourish ourselves with the Body and Blood of Christ, we are assimilated to him, [and] we receive his love in us, not to keep him jealously but to share him with others. This is the Eucharistic logic. In fact, we contemplate Jesus as broken and given bread, blood shed for our salvation. It is a presence that burns away selfish attitudes in us, purifies us from the tendency to give only when we have received, and ignites the desire to make us too, in union with Jesus, broken bread and blood shed for our brothers.
“Therefore, the feast of the Corpus Domini is a mystery of attraction to Christ and transformation in him. It is a school of concrete love, patient and sacrificed, like Jesus on the cross. It teaches us to become more welcoming and available to those in search of understanding, help, encouragement, who are marginalised and alone. The presence of Jesus alive in the Eucharist is like a door, an open door between the temple and the road, between faith and history, between the city of God and the city of man.
“The processions with the Blessed Sacrament are expression of popular Eucharistic piety, which are held in many countries during today's solemnity. They are an eloquent sign of the fact that Jesus, who died and rose, continues to walk the paths of the world, joins us and guides our path: He nourishes faith, hope and love; brings comfort in moments of trial; [and] supports the commitment to justice and peace. This evening too, in Ostia – as the Blessed Paul VI did 50 years ago – I shall celebrate Mass, which will be followed by the procession with the Blessed Sacrament. I invite everyone to participate, spiritually too, through radio and television."