ST. JOHN PAUL II QUOTES ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST.
ST. JOHN PAUL II ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST
Dear brethren in Christ, here are some quotes of St. John Paul II pn the Holy Eucharist for your personal meditation.
“The Church has received the Eucharist from Christ her Lord not as one gift … among so many others, but as the gift par excellence, for it is the gift of himself, of his person in his sacred humanity, as well as the gift of his saving work.” – – St. John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 11
“The Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation.” – St. John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 10.
“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life;… who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives.” – St. John Paul II, Homily, August 19, 2000-
“Only in Christ do we find real love, and the fullness of life. And so I invite you today to look to Christ. When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life.” “Jesus is not an idea or a feeling or a memory. Jesus is a living ‘person’ always present among us. Love Jesus present in the Eucharist.” – St. John Paul II, Address, October 3, 1979 & Nov. 8, 1978-
Receiving the Eucharist means entering into a profound communion with Jesus. “Abide in me, and I in you” (Jn 15:4). This relationship of profound and mutual “abiding” enables us to have a certain foretaste of heaven on earth. Is this not the greatest of human yearnings? Is this not what God had in mind when he brought about in history his plan of salvation? God has placed in human hearts a “hunger” for his word (cf. Am 8:11), a hunger which will be satisfied only by full union with him. Eucharistic communion was given so that we might be “sated” with God here on earth, in expectation of our complete fulfilment in heaven.” St. John Paul II, Mane nobiscum Domine 19.
“Each time we are reunited in the Eucharist, we are strengthened in holiness and renewed in happiness, for happiness and holiness are the inevitable consequences of being with God. When we are nourished by the Living Bread …we become more like Our Resurrected Saviour, who is the fountain of our joy… May happiness and holiness always abound in your life and flourish in your homes. And may the Eucharist… be the center of our life, the source of our happiness and holiness.” – St. John Paul II, Homily, Feb. 2, 1981 –
Proclaiming the death of the Lord “until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26) entails that all who take part in the Eucharist be committed to changing their lives and making them in a certain way completely “Eucharistic”. It is this fruit of a transfigured existence and a commitment to transforming the world in accordance with the Gospel which splendidly illustrates the eschatological tension inherent in the celebration of the Eucharist and in the Christian life as a whole: “Come, Lord Jesus!” – St. John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 20.
AUDIO CREDIT: Choir of Collegio Romano della Santa Croce (Cavabianca), “Signore Dolce volto”.
Below you have two homilies given by Pope John Paul II on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi for your spiritual reading and meditation.
POPE JOHN PAUL II
HOMILY Corpus Christi
29 May 1997
1. “This is my body which is for you…. This cup is the new covenant in my blood…. Do this … in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:24-25).
Today’s liturgy commemorates the great mystery of the Eucharist with a clear reference to Holy Thursday. Last Holy Thursday we were here at the Lateran Basilica, as we are every year, to commemorate the Lord’s Supper. At the end of the Mass in “Caena Domini”, the short procession accompanied the Blessed Sacrament to the chapel of reposition, where it remained until the solemn Easter Vigil. Today we are preparing for a far more solemn procession which will take us through the streets of the city.
In today’s feast, the words Jesus spoke in the Upper Room help us to relive the same feelings as those of Holy Thursday: “Take; this is my body”; “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mk 14:22-24). These words, just proclaimed, bring us even further into the mystery of the incarnate Word of God who, under the appearances of bread and wine, gives himself to every person as the food and drink of salvation.
2. In the Gospel acclamation, John offers us a significant key to interpreting the divine Master’s words, by stating what he said of himself near Capernaum: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever” (Jn 6:51).
Thus we find in today’s readings the full meaning of the mystery of salvation. If the first reading taken from Exodus (cf. Ex 24:3-8) refers us to the Old Covenant made between God and Moses through the blood of sacrificial animals, in the Letter to the Hebrews it is recalled that Christ “entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood” (9:11-15).
Today’s solemnity therefore helps us to give Christ the centrality which is his due in the divine plan for humanity, and spurs us to configure our lives more and more to him, the Eternal High Priest.
3. Mystery of faith! Today’s solemnity has been, down the centuries, an object of particular attention in various popular Christian traditions. How many public devotions have developed around the worship of the Eucharist. Theologians and pastors have striven to make the ineffable mystery of divine Love understood in human language.
The great doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas, has a special place among these authoritative voices. In his poetic compositions, he sings with inspired transport the believer’s sentiments of adoration and love before the mystery of the Lord’s Body and Blood. One need only think of the famous “Pange, lingua”, which is a profound meditation on the Eucharistic mystery, the mystery of the Lord’s Body and Blood — “gloriosi Corporis mysterium, Sanguinisque pretiosi”.
And again, the hymn “Adoro te, devote”, which is an invitation to adore the God hidden under the Eucharistic species: Latens Deitas, quae sub his figuris vere latitas: Tibi se cor meum totum subiicit! Yes, our whole heart is abandoned to you, O Christ, because whoever accepts your word discovers the full meaning of life and finds true peace … quia te contemplans totum deficit.
4. Gratitude for such an extraordinary gift springs spontaneously from the heart. “What shall I render to the Lord for all his bounty to me? Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus, quae retribuit mihi?” (Ps 116 :12). The psalmist’s words can be recited by each one of us, with the awareness of the inestimable gift the Lord has given us in the Eucharistic sacrament. “I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord”: this attitude of praise and adoration resounds today in the prayers and hymns of the Church in every corner of the earth.
It resounds this evening, here in Rome, where the spritual heritage of the Apostles Peter and Paul lives on. In a little while we will once again intone this ancient hymn of adoration and praise, as we walk through the streets of the city, going from this basilica to that of St Mary Major. We will repeat with devotion:
Pange, lingua, gloriosi …
Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory,
Of his flesh the mystery sing!
Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex intacta virgine….
Of a pure and spotless Virgin,
Born for us on earth below….
In supremae nocte caenae
Recumbens cum fratribus….
On the night of that last supper
Seated with his chosen band….
Cibus turbae duodenae
Se dat suis manibus.
Then as food to all his brethren
Gives himself with his own hand.
5. Sacrament of the gift, sacrament of Christ’s love pushed to the extreme: “in finem dilexit” (Jn 13:1), the Son of God gives himself. Under the appearances of bread and wine, he gives his Body and Blood, taken from Mary, his Virgin Mother. He gives his divinity and his humanity, to enrich us indescribably.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Let us adore the Sacrament that the Father gave us.
POPE JOHN PAUL II
HOMILY Corpus Christi
3 June 1999
1. Lauda, Sion, Salvatorem! Zion, praise your Saviour!
Praise your Saviour, Christian community of Rome gathered in front of this cathedral basilica dedicated to Christ the Saviour and to his Precursor, John the Baptist! Praise him, because “he makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat” (Responsorial Psalm, 147:14).
The Solemnity of Corpus Christi is a feast of praise and thanksgiving. On this day the Christian people gather round the altar to contemplate and adore the Eucharistic Mystery, the memorial of the sacrifice of Christ who has brought everyone salvation and peace. This year our solemn celebration and, in a while, the traditional procession which will take us from this square to St Mary Major have a specific aim: they are meant as a heartfelt and unanimous prayer for peace.
As we adore the Body of the One who is our Head, how can we not show our solidarity with his members who are suffering because of war? Yes, dear brothers and sisters, Romans and pilgrims, this evening we want to pray together for peace, especially for peace in the Balkans. May the Word of God, which we have just heard, enlighten and guide us.
2. In the first reading the Lord’s command resounded: “Remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you” (Dt 8:2). “Remember …”! This is the first word. It is not an invitation, but a command that the Lord gives his people before leading them into the promised land. He commands them not to forget.
To have peace, which sums up all the good things promised by God, it is first necessary not to forget past experiences but to treasure them. From errors, too, we can learn a lesson to give better direction to our journey.
In looking at this century and the end of this millennium, how could we forget the terrible sufferings endured by humanity? We must not forget: on the contrary, we must remember. God our Father, help us to learn the right lessons from our history and that of those who have gone before us!
3. History speaks of great yearning for peace, but also of the recurring disappointments humanity has had to suffer amid tears and blood. John XXIII, the Pope of Pacem in terris, died precisely today, 3 June, 36 years ago. What a unanimous chorus of praise welcomed that document which outlined the principles for building true peace in the world! But in recent years, how many times have we had to witness the outbreak of violent warfare in one part of the world or another.
The believer, however, does not give up. He knows he can always count on God’s help. In this regard, Jesus’ words at the Last Supper sound particularly eloquent: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). Today we want once again to welcome and understand these words in depth. Let us enter into the spirit of the Upper Room to contemplate Christ, who under the appearances of bread and wine gives his Body and his Blood, anticipating Calvary in this sacrament. This is how he gave us peace. St Paul would later remark: “He is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility … through the cross” (Eph 2:14, 16).
In giving himself, Christ gave us peace. His peace is not that of the world, often made of shrewdness and compromises, and of oppression and violence. Christ’s peace is the fruit of his Passover, that is, the fruit of his sacrifice which uproots hatred and violence and reconciles human beings with God and with one another; it is the trophy of his victory over sin and death, of his peaceful war against the evil of the world, a war fought and won with the weapons of truth and love.
4. It is not by chance that this greeting is frequently heard on the lips of the risen Christ. Appearing to the Apostles, he first shows the signs in his hands and side of the hard struggle he endured, and then he greets them: “Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:19, 21, 26). He communicates his peace to the disciples as a precious gift, not to keep jealously hidden, but to share with others through their witness.
This evening, dear friends, as we carry the Eucharist, the sacrament of Christ our Passover in procession through the streets of Rome, we will be bringing the message of that peace which he left us and which the world cannot give. As we walk, we will ask ourselves about our personal witness to peace. It is not enough, in fact, to speak of peace if we do not strive to foster sentiments of peace in our hearts and to express them in our daily relations with those who live around us.
We will carry the Eucharist in procession and raise our heartfelt prayers to the “Prince of Peace” for the neighbouring land of the Balkans, where already too much innocent blood has been shed and where too many violations have been committed against the dignity and rights of individuals and peoples.
Our prayer this evening is strengthened by the hopeful prospects which are finally emerging.
5. “The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (Jn 6:51). In the Gospel passage we have just heard, these words of Jesus have helped us understand what the source of true peace is. Christ is our peace, the “bread” offered for the life of the world. He is the “bread” which God the Father prepared, so that humanity might have life and have it abundantly (cf. Jn 10:10).
God did not spare his Son, but gave him as the salvation of all, as the Bread we must eat if we wish to have life. Christ’s words are clear: to have life it is not enough to believe in God; it is necessary to dwell in him (cf. Jas 2:14). This is why the Word was made flesh, died and rose and gave us his Spirit; this is why he left us the Eucharist, so that we could live on him as he lives on the Father. The Eucharist is the sacrament of the gift Christ made of himself for us: he is the sacrament of love and peace, which is the fullness of life.
6. “Living bread, who gives life!“.
Lord Jesus, before you, our Passover and our peace, we commit ourselves to non-violently opposing man’s violence against man.
Prostrate at your feet, O Christ, today we want to share the bread of hope with our brothers and sisters in despair; the bread of peace with our brothers and sisters tortured by ethnic cleansing and war; the bread of life with our brothers and sisters threatened each day by weapons of destruction and death.
O Christ, we want to share the living Bread of your peace with the innocent and most defenceless victims.
“We offer you this sacrifice of praise for ourselves and those who are dear to us” (Roman Canon), so that you, O Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, may be for us, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the source of life, love and peace. Amen!
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