Cyprus #7. Mass and Insrtumentum Laboris. (Eleftheria)

Cyprus #7. Mass and Insrtumentum Laboris. (Eleftheria)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I greet with joy the Patriarchs and Bishops of the various ecclesial communities of the Middle East who have come to Cyprus for this occasion, and I thank especially the Most Reverend Youssef Soueif, Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus, for the words that he addressed to me at the start of Mass.

Let me also say how glad I am to have this opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist in the company of so many of the faithful of Cyprus, a land blessed by the apostolic labours of Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas. I greet all of you most warmly and I thank you for your hospitality and for the generous welcome you have given me. I extend a particular greeting to the Filipino, Sri Lankan and other immigrant communities who form such a significant grouping within the Catholic population of this island.  I pray that your presence here will enrich the life and worship of the parishes to which you belong, and that you in turn will draw much spiritual sustenance from the ancient Christian heritage of the land that you have made your home.

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Lord’s Body and Blood. Corpus Christi, the name given to this feast in the West, is used in the Church’s tradition to designate three distinct realities: the physical body of Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, his eucharistic body, the bread of heaven which nourishes us in this great sacrament, and his ecclesial body, the Church. By reflecting on these different aspects of the Corpus Christi, we come to a deeper understanding of the mystery of communion which binds together those who belong to the Church. All who feed on the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist are “brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit” (Eucharistic Prayer II) to form God’s one holy people. Just as the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, so too the same Holy Spirit is at work in every celebration of Mass for a twofold purpose: to sanctify the gifts of bread and wine, that they may become the body and blood of Christ, and to fill all who are nourished by these holy gifts, that they may become one body, one spirit in Christ.

Saint Augustin exprime ce processus magnifiquement (cf. Sermon 272). Il nous rappelle que le pain n’est pas fabriqué à partir d’un seul grain, mais d’un grand nombre. Avant que tous ces grains ne deviennent du pain, ils doivent être moulus. Il fait ici allusion à l’exorcisme auquel les catéchumènes doivent se soumettre avant leur baptême. Chacun de nous qui appartenons à l’Église a besoin de sortir du monde clos de son individualité et d’accepter le ‘compagnonnage’ des autres, qui «partagent le pain» avec nous. Nous devons penser non plus à partir du ‘moi’ mais du ‘nous’. C’est pourquoi tous les jours, nous prions ‘notre’ Père, pour ‘notre’ pain quotidien. Abattre les barrières entre nous et nos voisins est le préalable premier pour entrer dans la vie divine à laquelle nous sommes appelés. Nous avons besoin d’être libérés de tout ce qui nous enferme et nous isole: crainte et défiance vis-à-vis des autres, avidité et égoïsme, mauvaise volonté pour prendre le risque de la vulnérabilité à laquelle nous nous exposons lorsque nous nous ouvrons à l’amour.

Les grains de blé, une fois écrasés, sont mélangés dans la pâte et cuits. Ici, saint Augustin fait référence à l’immersion dans les eaux baptismales suivie par le don sacramentel du Saint Esprit, qui embrase le cœur des fidèles avec le feu de l’amour de Dieu. Ce processus qui unit et transforme les grains isolés en un seul pain nous procure une image suggestive de l’action unifiante de l’Esprit Saint sur les membres de l’Église, réalisée de façon éminente à travers la célébration de l’Eucharistie. Ceux qui prennent part à ce grand sacrement deviennent le Corps ecclésial du Christ alors qu’ils se nourrissent de son Corps eucharistique. «Sois ce que tu peux voir», dit saint Augustin en les encourageant, «et reçois ce que tu es».

Ces fortes paroles nous invitent à répondre généreusement à l’appel à «être le Christ» pour ceux qui nous entourent. Nous sommes son corps maintenant sur la terre. Pour paraphraser un célèbre propos attribué à sainte Thérèse d’Avila, nous sommes les yeux avec lesquels sa compassion regarde ceux qui sont dans le besoin, nous sommes les mains qu’il tend pour bénir et pour guérir, nous sommes les pieds dont il se sert pour aller faire le bien, et nous sommes les lèvres par lesquelles son Évangile est proclamé. Cependant, il est important de saisir que lorsque nous participons ainsi à son œuvre de salut, nous ne faisons pas qu’honorer la mémoire d’un héros mort en prolongeant ce qu’il a fait: tout au contraire, le Christ est vivant en nous, son corps, l’Église, son peuple sacerdotal. En nous nourrissant de Lui dans l’Eucharistie et en accueillant l’Esprit Saint dans nos cœurs, nous devenons vraiment le Corps du Christ que nous avons reçu, nous sommes véritablement en communion avec lui et les uns avec les autres, et nous devenons authentiquement ses instruments, en lui rendant témoignage devant le monde.

“Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32). In the first Christian community, nourished at the Lord’s Table, we see the effects of the Holy Spirit’s unifying action. They shared their goods in common, all material attachment being overcome by love for the brethren. They found equitable solutions to their differences, as we see for example in the resolution of the dispute between Hellenists and Hebrews over the daily distribution (cf. Acts 6:1-6). As one observer commented at a later date: “See how these Christians love one another, and how they are ready to die for one another” (Tertullian, Apology, 39). Yet their love was by no means limited to their fellow believers. They never saw themselves as exclusive, privileged beneficiaries of divine favour, but rather as messengers, sent to bring the good news of salvation in Christ to the ends of the earth. And so it was that the message entrusted to the Apostles by the Risen Lord was spread throughout the Middle East, and outwards from there across the whole of the world.

Αγαπητοί εν Χριστώ αδελφοί και αγαπητές αδελφές, σήμερα είμαστε καλεσμένοι σαν ένα σωμα και μιά ψυχή να εξετάσουμε σε βάθος την κοινωνία μας με τον Κυριον και με τον πλησίον και να τον μαρτυρήσουμε μπροστά σε ολο τον κόσμο. [1]

We are called to overcome our differences, to bring peace and reconciliation where there is conflict, to offer the world a message of hope. We are called to reach out to those in need, generously sharing our earthly goods with those less fortunate than ourselves. And we are called to proclaim unceasingly the death and resurrection of the Lord, until he comes. Through him, with him and in him, in the unity that is the Holy Spirit’s gift to the Church, let us give honour and glory to God our heavenly Father in the company of all the angels and saints who sing his praises for ever. Amen.


[1] Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called, just as they were, to be of one heart and one soul, to deepen our communion with the Lord and with one another, and to bear witness to him before the world.

CONSIGNMENT OF THE INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS
OF THE SPECIAL ASSEMBLY FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I thank Archbishop Eterović for his kind words, and I renew my greetings to all of you who have come here in connection with the launch of the forthcoming Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. I thank you for all the work that has been accomplished already in anticipation of the Synodal Assembly, and I promise you the support of my prayers as you enter this final phase of preparation.

Before I begin, it is only fitting that I recall the late Bishop Luigi Padovese who, as President of the Turkish Catholic Bishops, contributed to the preparation of the Instrumentum Laboris that I am consigning to you today. News of his unforeseen and tragic death on Thursday surprised and shocked all of us. I entrust his soul to the mercy of almighty God, mindful of how committed he was, especially as a bishop, to interreligious and cultural understanding, and to dialogue between the Churches.  His death is a sobering reminder of the vocation that all Christians share, to be courageous witnesses in every circumstance to what is good, noble and just.

The motto chosen for the Assembly speaks to us of communion and witness, and it reminds us how the members of the early Christian community “were of one heart and soul”. At the centre of the Church’s unity is the Eucharist, Christ’s inestimable gift to his people and the focus of our liturgical celebration today on this Solemnity of the Lord’s Body and Blood. So it is not without significance that the date chosen for the Instrumentum Laboris of the Special Assembly to be consigned should be today.

The Middle East has a special place in the hearts of all Christians, since it was there that God first made himself known to our fathers in faith. From the time when Abraham set out from Ur of the Chaldeans in obedience to the Lord’s call, right up until the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s saving work was accomplished through particular individuals and peoples in your homelands. Since then, the message of the Gospel has spread all over the world, but Christians everywhere continue to look to the Middle East with special reverence, on account of the prophets and patriarchs, apostles and martyrs to whom we owe so much, the men and women who heard God’s word, bore witness to it, and handed it on to us who belong to the great family of the Church.

L’Assemblée Spéciale du Synode des Évêques, convoquée à votre demande, va tenter d’approfondir les liens de communion entre les membres de vos Églises locales, ainsi que la communion de ces mêmes Églises entre elles et avec l’Église universelle. Cette Assemblée désire aussi vous encourager dans le témoignage de votre foi dans le Christ que vous rendez dans les pays où cette foi est née et a grandi. Il est également connu que certains d’entre vous endurent de grandes épreuves dues à la situation actuelle de la région. L’Assemblée Spéciale est une opportunité pour les Chrétiens du reste du monde d’offrir un soutien spirituel et une solidarité à leurs frères et sœurs du Moyen-Orient. C’est une occasion pour mettre en relief la valeur importante de la présence et du témoignage chrétiens dans les pays de la Bible, non seulement pour la communauté chrétienne à l’échelle mondiale, mais également pour vos voisins et vos concitoyens. Vous contribuez d’innombrables manières au bien commun, par exemple par l’éducation, le soin des malades et l’assistance sociale, et vous travaillez à la construction de la société. Vous désirez vivre en paix et en harmonie avec vos voisins juifs et musulmans. Souvent, vous agissez en artisans de paix dans le difficile processus de conciliation. Vous méritez la reconnaissance pour le rôle inestimable que vous remplissez. C’est mon sérieux espoir que tous vos droits soient de plus en plus respectés, y compris le droit à la liberté de culte et la liberté religieuse, et que vous ne souffriez plus jamais de discrimination d’aucune sorte.

I pray that the work of the Special Assembly will help to focus the attention of the international community on the plight of those Christians in the Middle East who suffer for their beliefs, so that just and lasting solutions may be found to the conflicts that cause so much hardship. On this grave matter, I reiterate my personal appeal for an urgent and concerted international effort to resolve the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, especially in the Holy Land, before such conflicts lead to greater bloodshed.

With these thoughts, I now present to you the text of the Instrumentum Laboris of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. God bless your work abundantly! God bless all the peoples of the Middle East!

ANGELUS

Nicosia
Sunday, 6 June 2010

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

At the midday hour it is the Church’s tradition to turn in prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, joyfully recalling her ready acceptance of the Lord’s invitation to become the mother of God. It was an invitation that filled her with trepidation, one which she could scarcely even comprehend. It was a sign that God had chosen her, his lowly handmaid, to cooperate with him in his saving work. How we rejoice at the generosity of her response! Through her “yes”, the hope of the ages became a reality, the One whom Israel had long awaited came into the world, into our history. Of him the angel promised that his kingdom would have no end (cf. Lk 1:33).

Some thirty years later, as Mary stood weeping at the foot of the cross, it must have been hard to keep that hope alive. The forces of darkness seemed to have gained the upper hand. And yet, deep down, she would have remembered the angel’s words. Even amid the desolation of Holy Saturday the certitude of hope carried her forward into the joy of Easter morning. And so we, her children, live in the same confident hope that the Word made flesh in Mary’s womb will never abandon us. He, the Son of God and Son of Mary, strengthens the communion that binds us together, so that we can bear witness to him and to the power of his healing and reconciling love.

I would now like to say a few words in Polish on the happy occasion of the beatification today of Jerzy Popiełuszko, priest and martyr.

Serdeczne pozdrowienie kieruję do Kościoła w Polsce, który dziś raduje się wyniesieniem na ołtarze księdza Jerzego Popiełuszki. Jego ofiarna posługa i męczeństwo są szczególnym znakiem zwycięstwa dobra nad złem. Niech jego przykład i wstawiennictwo budzi gorliwość kapłanów i rozpala miłość wiernych.

[I send cordial greetings to the Church in Poland which today rejoices at the elevation to the altars of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko.  His zealous service and his martyrdom are a special sign of the victory of good over evil.  May his example and his intercession nourish the zeal of priests and enkindle the faithful with love.]

Let us now implore Mary our Mother to intercede for all of us, for the people of Cyprus, and for the Church throughout the Middle East with Christ, her Son, the Prince of Peace.

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