Catholic News Herald

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061817 pope corpus christiROME — The Eucharist is a tangible reminder of God's love, and receiving Communion is a call to work to build the body of Christ by loving others and shunning all that sows division within a community, Pope Francis said.
The Eucharist should "heal our ambition to lord it over others, to greedily hoard things for ourselves, to foment discord and criticism," he said June 18, celebrating the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. "May it awaken in us the joy of living in love, without rivalry, jealousy or mean-spirited gossip."
Pope Francis celebrated the Mass outside the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome. With an almost constant breeze cooling the warm Rome day, thousands of people -- including children who made their first Communion this spring -- gathered outside the basilica for the evening Mass and for the procession that would follow from St. John Lateran to the Basilica of St. Mary Major about a mile away.
In his homily at the Mass, the pope said the Eucharist "is the sacrament of memory, reminding us, in a real and tangible way, of the story of God's love for us."
Just as the Israelites were called to remember how God led them safely through the desert, he said, "remembering all that the Lord has done for us is the foundation of our own personal history of salvation."
"Remembrance is essential for faith, as water is for a plant," Pope Francis said.
Remembering, he said, keeps people "mindful, never forgetting who it is who loves us and whom we are called to love in return. "
Pope Francis said it seems that today people's ability to remember and be mindful is weakening.
"Amid so much frantic activity, many people and events seem to pass in a whirl," he said. "We quickly turn the page, looking for novelty while unable to retain memories."
But the focus on living for the moment, he said, often means living superficially and without a focus on "who we are and where we are going."
The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the pope said, reaches people even in their "fragmented lives," reminding them how Christ was broken for their salvation and continues to offer himself in the "loving fragility" of the Eucharist.
"In the Bread of Life, the Lord comes to us, making himself a humble meal that lovingly heals our memory, wounded by life's frantic pace of life," he said.
"The Eucharist is flavored with Jesus' words and deeds, the taste of his passion, the fragrance of his Spirit," he said. "When we receive it, our hearts are overcome with the certainty of Jesus' love."
At the same time, the pope said, the Eucharist is a reminder that Christians are not isolated individuals but are called to receive Christ's body together and to build up the body of the church.
"In experiencing this Eucharist," he told those at the Mass, "let us adore and thank the Lord for this greatest of gifts: the living memorial of his love that makes us one body and leads us to unity."
— Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Pictured above: Pope Francis raises the Eucharist as he celebrates Mass marking the feast of Corpus Christi outside the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome May 26, 2016. (CNS file photo/Paul Haring)