The Holy See Search



2-23 October 2005

The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church

This Bulletin is only a working instrument for the press.
Translations are not official.

English Edition


05 - 03.10.2005




After the short reading of the Third Hour, the Holy Father Benedict XVI gave the following reflection:

Dear Brothers,
This Third Hour of today implies five imperatives and a promise. Let’s try to understand a bit better what the Apostle intends to tell us through these words.
The first imperative is very frequent in the Letters of Saint Paul;
rather, one could say that it is almost the “cantus firmus” of his thought: “gaudete”.
The question stems from here: is it possible to almost command joy? Joy, we should say, comes or does not come, but cannot be imposed as a duty. And here it helps us to think of the most known text on joy in the Letters of Saint Paul, the one of “Domenica Gaudete”, in the heart of the Liturgy of Advent: “gaudete, iterum dico gaudete quia Dominus propest”.
Here we feel the reason why Paul in all the sufferings, and in all the tribulations, he could not only say to the others “gaudete”: he could say so because he was filled with joy. “Gaudete, Dominus enim prope est”.
If the loved one, love, the greatest gift of my life, is close to me, if I can be convinced that the one who loves me is close to me, even in situations of suffering, joy that remains in the depth of my heart is ever greater than all sufferings.
The apostle can say “gaudete” because the Lord is close to each one of us. And so this imperative in reality is an invitation to become aware of the Lord who is close to us. It is an awareness for the presence of the lord. The Apostle intends to make us be careful of this - hidden but very real - presence of Christ to each one of us. The words of the Apocalypse are true for each one of us: I knock at your door, listen to me, open up to me.
This is therefore also an invitation to be aware of this presence of the Lord who knocks at my door. Do not be deaf to Him, because the ears of our hearts are so full of so many noises in the world that we cannot hear this silent presence that knocks at our doors. Let’s reflect, at the same time, if we are truly ready to open the doors of our heart; or perhaps this heart is full of so many other things that there is no room for the Lord and for the time being we have no time for the Lord. And so, we are insensitive, deaf to his presence, full of other things, that we do not hear the essential: He knocks at the door, he is close to us and thus true joy is close, that is stronger than all the sorrows in the world, and in our life.
Therefore, let us pray within the context of this first imperative: Lord make us sensitive to Your presence, help us to feel,not to be deaf to You, help us to have a free heart and be open to You.
The second imperative “perfecti estote”, as can be read in the Latin text, seems to coincide with the summary word of the Sermon on the mountain: “perfecti estote sicut Pater vester caelestis perfectus est”.
This word invites us to be what we are: images of God, creatures created in relation to the Lord, a “mirror” in which the light of the Lord is reflected. Not to live Christianity according to the letter, and not to feel the Sacred Scripture according to the letter is often difficult; it is historically questionable, but to go beyond the letter, the present reality, towards the Lord who speaks to us and thus in union with the Lord. However, if we look at the Greek text we find another verb “catartizesthe”, and this word means to redo, to repair an instrument, to reestablish something to its full functionality. The most frequent example for the apostles is to remake a net for the fishermen which is no longer in the right situation, which has so many gaps to serve no longer, remake the net so that it can become a fishing net again, return to its perfection as an instrument for this work. Another example: a string musical instrument which has one broken string, therefore music cannot be played as it should. So in this imperative our soul appears like an apostolic net which nevertheless often does not work well, because it is torn by our own intentions; or like a musical instrument where unfortunately some chords are broken, and therefore the music of God which should sound from the depth of our soul cannot echo well. To remake this instrument, to know the afflictions, destructions, negligences, how much has been disregarded, and to try and see that this instrument is perfect and complete because it serves for what it was created for by the Lord.
And so this imperative can also be an invitation to regularly examine one’s conscience, to see how my instrument is, to what extent it has been neglected, it no longer works, to try and return to its integrity. This is also an invitation to the Sacrament of reconciliation, where God Himself remakes this instrument and gives us again completeness, perfection, functionality, so that the praise of God can resound in this soul.
Then comes “exortamini invicem”. Fraternal correction is a work of mercy. None of us can see himself well, he can see his shortcomings well. And so it is an act of love, to be a complement to each other, to help each other see each other better, and to correct each other. I think that one of the functions of collegiality is to help each other, also in the sense of the previous imperative, to know the shortcomings which we ourselves do not wish to see - “ab occultis meis munda me” says the psalm - to help each other so that we may become open and can see these things.
Of course, this great work of mercy, helping each other so that each one can really find his or her own integrity, and functionality as an instrument of God, demands great humility and love. Only if this comes from a humble heart, who does not place himself above another, does not consider himself better than the other, but only a humble instrument to mutually help each other. Only if one feels this deep and true humility, if one feels that these words come from common love, from the collegial affection in which we wish to serve God together, can we in this way help each other with a great act of love. Also here, the Greek text adds some nuances; the Greek work is “paracaleisthe”; it is the same root from which the following word comes from “Paracletos, paraclesis”, consoling. Not only correcting, but also consoling, sharing the sufferings of others, helping them in difficulty. And this also seems to me to be a great act of true collegial affection. In so many difficult situations which stem today in our pastoral care, some people are really desperate, and do not know how to go ahead. In that moment they need consolation, they need somebody to be close by in their inner solitude and carry out the work of the Holy Spirit, of the Comforter: to give courage, to bring us together, to support each other, helped by the Holy Spirit who is the great Paraclete, the Comforter, our Advocate who helps us. Therefore, it is an invitation to make ourselves “ad invicem” the work of the Paraclete Holy Spirit.”Idem sapite”: we can hear behind the Latin word “sapor”, “taste”: have the same taste for things, have the same fundamental vision of reality, with all the differences which are not only legitimate but also necessary, but have “eundem sapore”, have the same sensitivity. The Greek text says “froneite”, the same thing. That is, substantially have the same thought. How can we have in substance a common thought which helps us to guide together the holy Church if we do not share together the faith which is not invented by any of us, but is it not the faith of the Church, the common foundation which leads us, and on which we are and on which we work? Therefore, it is an invitation to place ourselves again in this common thought, in this faith which precedes us. “Non respicias peccata nostra sed fidem Ecclesiae tuae”: it is the faith of the Church which the Lord looks for in us and which is also the forgiveness of sins. To have this common faith, we can and must live this faith, each one in his own way, but always knowing that this faith precedes us. And we must communicate with all the others this common faith. This element already leads us on to the last imperative, which grants profound peace among us.
And at this point we can also think of “touto froneite”, of another text of the Letter to the Philippians, at the beginning of the great hymn on the Lord, where the Apostle tells us: have the same feelings of Christ, enter the “fronesis”, in the “fronein”, in the thought of Christ. Therefore, we can have the faith of the Church together, because with this faith we enter in the thoughts and feelings of the lord. Thinking together with Christ.
This is the last exhortation of this warning by the Apostle: thinking with the thought of Christ. And we can do this by reading the holy Scripture where the thoughts of Christ are Words, that speak with us. In this sense we should follow the “Lectio Divina”, listening in the Scriptures the thought of Christ, learning to think with Christ, thinking the thought of Christ and thus having the same feelings of Christ, being capable of giving Christ’s thought and feelings to the others.
Hence, the last imperative “pacem habete et eireneuete”, is almost the summary of the four previous imperatives, being thus in union with God who is our peace, with Christ who told us: “pacem dabo vobis”. We are in inner peace, because being in the thought of Christ unites our real being. The difficulties, the contrasts of our soul are united, we are united to the original , that of which we are the image, with the thought of Christ. This is how inner peace stems and only if we are founded on deep inner peace can we be people of peace also in the world, and for others.
Hence the question, is this promise conditioned by imperatives? That is, is it only to the extent in which we can achieve these imperatives, that this God of peace is with us? What is the relationship between imperative and promise?
I would say it is bilateral, that is the promise precedes the imperatives and makes the imperatives achievable and also follows this implementation of the imperatives. That is, first of all how much we do, God of love and peace has opened up to us, he is with us. In the Revelation begun in the Old Testament, God came towards us with His love and His peace.
And finally, in Incarnation He was made God with us: Emanuel. This God of peace is with us who was made flesh with our flesh, blood of our blood. He is man with us and embraces the whole of mankind. And in crucifixion and in descending to death, He was made completely one with us, He precedes us with His love, and He embraces first of all our actions. And this is our great consolation. God precedes us. He has already done everything. He has given us peace and forgiveness and love. He is with us. And only because He is with us, because we received His grace in Baptism, in Confirmation the Holy Spirit, we received His mission in the Sacrament of the Order, we can now cooperate with His presence which precedes us. All our actions which are mentioned in the five imperatives implies cooperating, collaborating with the God of peace who is with us.
However on the other hand, this is valid to the extent in which we really enter this presence which He gave us, in this gift which is already present in our being. Consequently His presence is reinforced and His being with us.
And let’s pray to the lord to teach us to cooperate with his preceding grace and that He always really be with us. Amen!

[00020-02.10] [NNNNN] [Original text: Italian]



At 4:30 p.m. today, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the Adsumus, the Second General Congregation began at 5:55 p.m., for the beginning of the interventions by the Synodal Fathers in the Hall on the Synod topic. The President Delegate on duty was H. Em. Card. Francis ARINZE, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
This General Congregation ended at 7:30 p.m. with the prayer Angelus Domini and 241 Fathers were present.


Then, the following fathers intervened:

- H. Em. Card. José SARAIVA MARTINS, C.M.F., Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints (VATICAN CITY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Donald William WUERL, Bishop of Pittsburgh (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
- H. Em. Card. Stephen Fumio HAMAO, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of the Migrants and Itinerant People (VATICAN CITY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Robert LE GALL, O.S.B., Bishop of Mende (FRANCE)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Philippe GUENELEY, Bishop of Langres (FRANCE)
- H.E. Most. Rev. John Patrick FOLEY, Titular Archbishop of Neapolis in Proconsulari, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (VATICAN CITY)
- H. B. Ignace Pierre VIII ABDEL-AHAD, Patriarch of Antiochia dei Syrians, Head of the Synof of the Syrian Catholic Church (LEBANON)
- Rev. Father Joseph William TOBIN, C.SS.R., Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
- H.E. Most. Rev. Bruno FORTE, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto (ITALY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Alberto GIRALDO JARAMILLO, P.S.S., Archbishop of Medellín (COLOMBIA)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Salvatore FISICHELLA, Titular Bishop of Voghenza, Vicohabentia, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, Magnificent Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome (ITALY)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Tadeusz KONDRUSIEWICZ, Archbishop of Mother of God in Moscow (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
- H.E. Most. Rev. Cristián CARO CORDERO, Archbishop of Puerto Montt (CHILE)
- Rev. Father Josep Maria ABELLA BATLLE, C.M.F., Superior General of the Missionaries of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Clarissans)

Below are the summaries of the interventions:

- H. Em. Card. José SARAIVA MARTINS, C.M.F., Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints (VATICAN CITY)

1. Among the various aspects of the mystery of the Eucharist one should stress, above all, its essential Easter dimension about which the Instrumentum Laboris speaks in several instances.
“One cannot separate the death of Christ from His Resurrection” (IL 7). In fact, it belongs also to Christ the Redeemer (Rm 4:24-25). He died to be resurrected. Good Friday would have no meaning without Easter Sunday. Jesus never separated these two salvific events. Thus, He always clearly affirmed the inseparable link between them.
Now then, the Eucharist being the re-enactment, in time and history, of the Sacrifice of Christ, makes present not only His death but also His resurrection (IL 8), the entire Easter mystery. This is strongly underlined in the encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia”, when it affirms that “the eucharistic sacrifice not only makes present the mystery of the passion and death of the Saviour, but also the mystery of the resurrection, which crowns His sacrifice” (EdE 14). The Eucharist is, in other words, the memorial of the Easter of Christ.
2. It is precisely as a memorial of the Easter of Christ, that the Eucharist is “source and epiphany of communion” (MND 19) as much in its vertical dimension, that is to say with Christ, as in its horizontal dimension, that is to say His disciples.
The Eucharist is, before anything else, the source of the deepest, most sublime and radical communion with the Redeemer. When requested by the disciples of Emmaus to remain with them, Jesus responds with a much greater gift: that is to say through the sacrament of the Eucharist, found the way to remain, not only with them, but in them. To receive the Eucharist is to enter into deep communion with Jesus. “Remain in me, as I in you” (Jn 15:4) (MND 19).
But the intimate and mysterious communion with Christ achieved in the Eucharist is not possible to be fully understood nor lived outside of “ecclesial communion”. The first door opens necessarily on the other. The one flows from the other. “The Church, one reads in the MND, is the Body of Jesus, the path “with Christ” to the extent that one is “in relation with his mystical Body” (MND 20). The “Ut unum sint” of Christ is fully achieved in the Eucharist. The early christian communities constituted a “one heart and one soul” by virtue of the participation in the eucharistic banquet, in the “fractio panis”.
The Eucharist, therefore, vitally uniting men to Christ, unites them too with one another. The same Christ becomes, in the Eucharist, a living link between the members of His Body.
The Eucharist knocks down all cultural and social barriers, to make of those who receive it one Community of faith, of hope and of love in order to set them on the right road towards that unity which finds its model and perfection in the union of the Holy Trinity itself. But, besides being the source, the Eucharist is also the epiphany or manifestation of the communion of the faithful with Christ and among themselves (MND 19 ss). Never as in the celebration of the Eucharist, the Church is and appears to be, so perfectly one, una koinonia , a communion. The Church is one because the Eucharist is one. The Council speaks of the “eclessiology of communion”: it is clearly a matter of an “ecclesiology of eucharistic communion”, because it is rooted in the sacrament of the altar.
In this context, one should also stress the highly ecumenical aspect of the Eucharist.True ecumenism, in fact, does not consist so much in us going towards our separated brothers or their coming towards us, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but going , us and them, towards He who wanted to remain in us under the eucharistic species.
Source and epiphany of ecclesial communion, the Eucharist cannot but be an inextinguishable source of joy: of that Easter joy which pours forth from the Risen Lord in the Eucharist. The early christians “broke the bread in their houses and shared their food gladly and generously; they praised God” (Ac 2:46-47).

[00021-02.09] [IN001] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Donald William WUERL, Bishop of Pittsburgh (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

Our catechetical efforts today take place in the context of a highly secularized world. One of the biggest challenges that we face as followers of Christ is the great disparity betWeen what we see in faith as the horizon of life and what this secular culture sees as the goal and purpose of existence. Our catechesis particularly on moral and social justice issues must not become disconnected from the heart of our faith, the death and resurrection of Christ and our participation in that salvific event through the Eucharist. Whatever operative pastoral plan or suggestions that emerge for future orientation of the Church's pastoral ministry should include an emphasis on the foundational mystery of Christ's enduring presence and action in the Eucharist.

[00024-02.04] [IN004] [Original text: English]

- H. Em. Card. Stephen Fumio HAMAO, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of the Migrants and Itinerant People (VATICAN CITY)

In the current world scenario we are experiencing such great changes to the extent of arousing the impression that a new humanity is about to appear. National borders are falling, peoples and races mix, cultures are confronted, super national organizations are created, an international law is being sought, social and political unification is pursued and, in particular economic unification which goes under the name of “globalization”.
Thus a single world market of goods and ideas is being formed. It is a great advantage, but this process also involves risks. No doubt diversity is the source of wealth, but the abolishment of borders often does not coincide with “globalization of solidarity”. More and more restrictive measures are issued with regard to migrants and refugees; more and more severe procedures are adopted to prevent the needy from poor countries in the world from participating in the well-being of rich countries. Diversity of a foreigner is often considered a threat instead of a mutually enhancing benefit.
The Catholic Church is not only “spread throughout the five continents”, but it is also in movement among them and the sacrament of the Eucharist is offered to them as the center of unification, a meeting point, a qualified dimension of acceptance of diversities in unity.
Men and women in movement, with their own ways, which are rooted in culture, tradition in their own ritual, in the use of the local language, in popular devotion, find in the celebration of the Eucharist the reference point of their life, often fragmented and upset: and Jesus Christ incarnate, dead and risen, “In His entirety substantially present in the reality of his Body and of his Blood”. For this reason, it is not sufficient to say that the Eucharist is in the center of the Christian community, one also has to say that the Church is the center of the Eucharist!
The history of Salvation, in which also migrations have an important place, has as its center the Easter sacrifice of the Son of God and his resurrection and, therefore, the Eucharist occupies a central place. Lastly, the Eucharist tends towards the eschatological future, since it is a pre-tasting of the banquet of the Kingdom, to which the whole of humanity is called to participate. It projects us to live the “already” and “not the still”, involving us in the historical present of the Christian community in an adequate and authentic inculturation process.
The Eucharist celebrated with and by our brothers and sisters in mobility is a bond of fraternity and source of acceptance, a source of good works, since it leads to the testimony of evangelical values in the world, in unity of the three dimensions of Christian life, that is liturgia, martyria-diaconia, for a new evangelization, new in its ardor, in its methods and in its expression.
Here then, that the Eucharist manifests the meaning of Christian existence on earth as the moment when the Church experiments its being on the way “the wayfarer”, ‘the emigrant”, “the pilgrim”. The Eucharist is therefore “the food of pilgrims”, the sacrament of the exodus which continues, the paschal sacrament, that is of the “passage”, until reaching the “eternal inheritance” of the Kingdom of God in the communion of Saints.

[00025-02.05] [1N010] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Robert LE GALL, O.S.B., Bishop of Mende (FRANCE)

Several times, the Instrumentum laboris underlines how the Eucharist is a gift and a mystery (n. 12, 25, 34, 35, 48, 86), which we must access and conduct in all humility (n. 51) and in a spirit of adoration (n. 65). In the same way, we insist on the “primacy of grace”, just as Pope John Paul II did in the Tertio millennio ineunte (n. 31).
With this same spirit, it is necessary to show in a better way how in the Eucharist God is the first Actor who incites our acts and enriches them. Number 25 leads to this, but remains a little vague. Staying closer to the teaching in the Sacrosanctum Concilium, in n. 7, which clearly expresses the theology of the liturgy, would be opportune.
The richness of n. 7 of the Sacrosanctum Concilium itself is in, once again, taking the definition of the liturgy proposed by Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei on its completion: worship orients man towards God thanks to the Man-God who leads us to the Father; this is the ascendant line. But the descending line (cf. Dies Domini, n. 43), by which God comes to us in the redeeming Incarnation, is always first: the Council calls this “sanctification”, while the ascending line is rightly called the integral worship practiced by the mystical Body in its entirety.
For the quality of our celebrations, it is very important to clearly perceive this articulation in the Opus Dei - the word comes up often in the first numbers of the Sacrosanctum Concilium - between the opus Dei facientis and the opus Ecclesiae, between what God does for us, with us and what we do for Him, with Him. This is good, the sense of the doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer, a sort of summit of the mass. This is a completely spiritual life, where the primacy of grace incites the best in our freedom. If we “give grace”, this is because we receive grace.

[00026-02.03] [IN013] [Original text: French]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Philippe GUENELEY, Bishop of Langres (FRANCE)

One of the main worries of pastors in the Christian communities is the initiation to the Eucharist. This initiation concerns the children preparing for first communion, as well as the youth and the adults to whom is proposed a catechumenal path proper to their age and which progressively leads them to the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation, such as the Eucharist.
Now, the bond between baptism and the Eucharist is not sufficiently marked and the permanence of Eucharistic practice is made difficult after the first participation in it.
It would be opportune for this Synod to insist on the tight bond between baptism and the Eucharist, so that it will be seen as the summit of baptismal life. With the little children who have been baptized during their first years, there is need for a mystagogy, that they may take conscience that the Eucharist places its roots in their lives as baptized and truly nurtures this baptismal life. For youth and adults, during the time of the initiation to the sacraments, attention should not be focused solely on baptism, and it is necessary that the initiation to the Eucharist is jointly realized with that of baptism. It is advisable to propose to the catechumens to be present at the Eucharistic celebrations, before they can fully participate with communion.
The familial and social context is such that there is a type of ignorance as to what the Eucharist is. If Eucharistic practice is weak, is this not because the meaning of the Eucharist has yet to be discovered. It is important to take the time to discover what the Eucharist is. Celebrations that prepare to the Eucharist should be proposed. A true pedagogy should be activated.
Considerable effort, which bears its fruits, has been achieved in our Dioceses for the preparation to the sacrament of Confirmation. Shouldn’t we be inspired to use what has been done to favor Confirmation in the initiation to the Eucharist?

[00027-02.03] [IN014] [Original text: French]

- H.E. Most. Rev. John Patrick FOLEY, Titular Archbishop of Neapolis in Proconsulari, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (VATICAN CITY)

I would ask that bishops around the world take advantage of the opportunity to telecast the liturgy and to take great care about the manner in which such telecast liturgies are celebrated.
In many dioceses and indeed in many nations, there already exists a tradition of telecasting the liturgy on Sundays and holy days of obligation. From visits to many nations and from videotapes which I have seen, I can attest that most of these televised liturgies are celebrated reverently and reflect careful preparation. Occasionally, however, individual celebrants will be seen to depart from the liturgical norms of the Church, and this can serve at least to disorient and perhaps disedify some viewers, and give some priests and people the impression that departure from liturgical norms is justified, because they have seen it on television.
Broadcast liturgies should be viewed as normative for what is to be expected in local celebrations of the Eucharist. The reverence of the celebrant and participants, the faithfulness to the liturgical law of the Church, the quality of the music and the participation of the faithful should be models of liturgical worship, inspiring for the faithful and edifying for those who do not share our faith but who may be watching or listening, even out of curiosity. While viewing a telecast liturgy does not satisfy one's Sunday obligation, it can and ought to help to deepen one's spiritual life. The telecasting of the liturgy is not merely a service for the sick and the elderly who cannot personally assist at Mass. Watching a telecast liturgy can be an appropriate preparation for personal assistance at Sunday liturgy or it can be a continued period of thanksgiving and reflection after the worshipper has returned home.
It is interesting to note that the most widely watched regularly scheduled religious program in the world is the telecast of the Holy Father's Midnight Mass at Christmas, which is viewed in about seventy-five nations. Quite a few people, including Protestants, have said that this telecast from Rome has become a Christmas tradition with them and entire families gather around the television set to be united in prayer with the Holy Father. While a number of nations in Western Europe do not transmit this telecast, preferring to telecast local liturgies, television executives in a number of nations in America, Asia and Africa have told us how delighted they are to receive such a program from the Vatican. With the deregulation of the media in the United States, the Christmas Midnight Mass from the Vatican remains the only - I repeat, the only - regularly scheduled religious program on major network television.
The worldwide coverage of the liturgical celebrations in Rome last April was, of course,
even greater than that normally given to the telecasts at Christmas, Holy Week and Easter, but the opportunities that exist for liturgical telecasts on a weekly or at least occasional basis in nations and cities around the world are extremely important in helping to satisfy the spiritual hunger of millions who wish to identify themselves with Jesus, the way, the truth and the life. Thank you!

[00028-02.06] [IN016] [Original text: English]

- H. B. Ignace Pierre VIII ABDEL-AHAD, Patriarch of Antiochia dei Syrians, Head of the Synof of the Syrian Catholic Church (LEBANON)

Some of the first Syrian communities of Antioch have come out of the Jerusalem of Antioch and the Mesopotamia Judeo-Christian ones. This is why, converting to Christianity, the Christians of Antioch did not detach themselves from the ancient traditions especially the Jewish feast days, such as the feast of Passover or Pesah in Hebrew or Fesho in Aramaic. They have found in the Lord the true Paschal Lamb and immediately they established, in their meditations, parallels between the paschal lamb of Egypt and the Paschal Lamb of Jerusalem, which was Jesus Christ on the Cross, immolated already in the Cenacle in anticipation of this.
Saint Ephrem developed this parallel while writing:
“The blood of the lamb was poured out in Egypt for the deliverance of the people and at Zion the blood of the Lamb of truth was poured out. In contemplating these two lambs we can see the similarities and the differences. The lamb of Egypt was as a mystery in the shadows while the Lamb of truth is its realization.
The Paschal Lamb, Jesus Christ, saved through his blood the people from their errors like the lamb of Egypt, of which thousands were offered, but only one saved Egypt. Many lambs were offered but only one dissipated error. In Egypt the symbol, but in the Church the reality.
The bread the Lord ate with His disciples on Easter, on the Pesah, and that he broke, replaced the unleavened bread that gave death to those who ate it.
The Church gives us the Bread of Life to replace the unleavened bread given in Egypt. Mary gave us the Bread of Life to replace the bread of labors that Eve gave.”
In this spirituality, the Syrian Church lives the Paschal Mystery every Sunday of the year, except for the Sundays of Advent or Lent.
Easter, Pesho, has the dual meaning of passage and joy. The Eucharist, the Bread of Life, Paschal joy, creates the joy of believers. The Almighty God lowers himself and He is carried by poor humans. As said in the anaphor of saint James: “It is the Grape of Life that those who crucified him have swallowed without tasting it and that the believers received without detaching themselves from it. It is the Heavenly Bread that does not famish those who eat it and is the spiritual Drink who does not make those who drink it thirsty.”
Before receiving the Heavenly Bread, the community of the faithful pray to the Lord to give it pure lips to take His Body and to be allowed to be gladdened in His Blood. In giving the Body and Blood of Christ, the priest says to the communicant “may the purifying embers of the Body and the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ serve for the remission and the forgiveness of your sins”.
Thus the Eucharist is always lived as a Paschal Mystery in the Syrian Church of Antioch.

[00030-02.03] [IN017] [Original text: French]

- Rev. Father Joseph William TOBIN, C.SS.R., Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

My point of departure is the discussion of the rapport between Eucharist and Penance that is found in N. 23 of the Instrumentum Laboris.
The Instrumentum laboris makes frequent reference to the relationship between Eucharist and Penance and the relationship between the two sacraments is most often presented as a reason for concern. How can we help people to regain an affection for the sacrament of Penance and appreciate the gift of the Eucharist as a supreme motivation for loving God who has given Himself to us?
I will identify four levels to the problem, namely the ecclesial, sacramental, moral and juridical understanding of Eucharist and Penance.
We face very grave problems with regard to the tension between the celebration of the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. We should begin with the ecclesial dimension of both sacraments, and then continue to the proper sacramental presentation of both. In the light of these two foundational aspects we may proceed to the moral questions and the jurisdictional problems involved. This is a better way, and more faithful to Scripture and Tradition, than the tendency to begin with moral and disciplinary aspects, which may needlessly provoke division in the Church. The human realities of both sacraments are important, but not as essential as the fact that the sacraments receive their deepest significance from the Paschal Mystery of Christ, which is the key to understanding the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the freeing from the bonds of grave sins in the Sacrament of Penance.

[00029-02.05] [IN019] [Original text: English]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Bruno FORTE, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto (ITALY)

The second chapter of part I of the Instrumentum laboris is dedicated to the theme “The Eucharist and Ecclesial communion”: in particular n. 11 deals with the Eucharistic mystery as “expression of Ecclesial unity”. In other paragraphs the relationship between the Eucharist and the Church is mentioned: thus n. 14 covers the theme of Eucharistic unity as an expression of the Ecclesial unity or n. 49 treats the Eucharistic celebration as an “act of the Church in its universality, before any particular or local level”. Despite these recollections, it seems to me that little value is given to the potentials of Eucharistic ecclesiology, of that relationship between the Eucharist and the Church, which has been conceived by the great Christian Tradition as constitutive of and essential to the being and actions of the Church itself. That is why I believe it is important to ask for and propose deeper reflection in this direction: suffice it to say that the primitive Christian community indicated with the same expression “Corpus Christi” the historical body, the Eucharistic body and the Ecclesial body of Christ, thus showing the deep bonds of the mystery of saving unity in all its aspects. It can be asserted that, for the conscience of the undivided Church of the first millennium, the unity of the Eucharist in the multiplicity of celebrations outlines efficaciously the unity of the Catholica in the multiplicity of local communities celebrating under the guidance of their Bishops: the ecclesiological “pericoresi” - image and resemblance of that of the Divine Persons - is shared with the Church through the Eucharistic gift. The privileged way to express and realize this ecclesiological “pericoresi” has been, in the great Catholic tradition, the synods and councils, which in the ancient Church had always an explicit and constitutive relationship with the Eucharist. We may ask ourselves how, in the Synod of Bishops, this ‘synodality’ or ‘collegiality’ of Bishops ‘cum Petro et sub Petro’, founded and expressed in the Eucharistic ‘communio’ of the Churches in the sole Church, can be expressed and realized at its best. However, it is up to the Bishop of the Church that presides in love, the Pope, to indicate and establish other possible forms that favor the practice of episcopal collegiality in light of the ‘communio’ generated and expressed by the Eucharistic syntax.

[00032-02.03] [IN022] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Alberto GIRALDO JARAMILLO, P.S.S., Archbishop of Medellín (COLOMBIA)

The family was always a fundamental concern in the life and the Magisterium of John Paul II. Guided by his teaching we meditate on three points.

As in Cana, Christ makes Himself present. He will be the guarantor of the commitments of the spouses and will be companion for life of the family. He will be the Living bread that assures life: the spouses will make Him their life companion like the disciples of Emmaus.
When the sacrament of Marriage is celebrated in the Holy Mass it “highlights the paradigm of Christian love, that is, the love of Jesus Christ, who, in the Eucharist, loves the Church as his Bride to the point of giving his life for her.” (Working Document 19)
The first Communion of the Children. In such a way as to nurture an experience of the Eucharist from the early years.
The Holy Sunday Mass.-That will be for the family: light, food for family unity and strength for missionary impulse within and outside the family.
The family is a“Domestic Church”. The Eucharist builds up the family, and the family makes the Eucharist.

[00033-02.03] [IN024] [Original text: Spanish]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Salvatore FISICHELLA, Titular Bishop of Voghenza, Vicohabentia, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, Magnificent Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome (ITALY)

This intervention is in reference to no. 3-10 of the Instrumentum Laboris where, repeatedly, the problem of the contemporary context in which the celebration and the comprehension of the Eucharistic mystery takes place emerges. The first point which we should confront ourselves with is the deep cultural change which is in progress. It is important to reaffirm that the Eucharist is the source of culture and the space in which are rediscovered the personal and social behavior which show the life style of the believer. The great challenge that faces Christians in the coming decades is that of a renewed life style that places the Eucharistic mystery back at the center of their existence. In order for this to happen, it is important to recuperate some elements which are proper of the Eucharist:
1. The education to beauty which is articulated on several levels: by the celebrant, so that he may understand the value of the liturgical action, the signs that constitute it and the evocative language they possess; on behalf of those who are entrusted with the role of construction of churches, so that they do not give in to ideologies that cloud their presence in the territory or create a hybrid space which thwarts the perception of the sacred. It is decisive to recuperate a language which, for its proper nature, is able to make clear the value of the place where the Eucharist is celebrated and its deep meaning.
2. In a time like ours, full of a culture which imposes buying everything only because of the desire to own it or vice versa ,which demands the right only to see a desire fulfilled, the Eucharist expresses how to place onself in front of what is essential to life through an attitude that is reinforced by gratuity. Without rediscovering this, it is difficult to think about reaching future objectives that qualify the personal existence and create progress for the whole history of humanity.
3. The Eucharist can be a source of culture that re-proposes the sense of sacrifice as an offering of freedom. It is useless to hide from the fact that, today, freedom is still threatened by the deception in believing that it exists only to fulfill that which it wants, for the very reason that it is wanted. The Eucharist becomes a true challenge on the level of the realization of freedom. In fact, it says that freedom is achieved where one renounces deciding for oneself giving way to the other, in love.
4. Finally, the Eucharist can educate to a culture that leads all to understand ever better the faithful participation of the faithful in the building of the world. Until the coming of the Lord we are called to make everybody participate in the mystery that we are celebrating. This requires the ability to transform the world in such a way that every person can express the best of themselves, This demands the possibility of knowing how to meet the needs of others, sharing his path in search of the truth and becoming for each, companion on the road; however, respecting each person’s times, the believer knows how to point out the path to find the definitive reply to the question of meaning.

[00034-02.02] [IN027] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Tadeusz KONDRUSIEWICZ, Archbishop of Mother of God in Moscow (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)

Liturgical reform has lead to greater active and fruitful and conscious participation of the faithful in the Eucharist. Despite, however, the positive aspects it has also brought about some negative ones. The insufficient liturgical discipline and conscience in the celebration of the Eucharist negatively influences even ecumenical relationships. The violation of the liturgical norms clouds the faith and doctrine of the Church on the Eucharist, and leads to betrayal of the rule Lex orandi - Lex credendi.
The Eucharist is at the heart of Christian faith, which suffers above all for the distortion of the Eucharist, Pope Benedict XVI calls back to the Eucharistic devotion and to the courageous and clear expression of faith in the real presence of the Lord, especially in His solemnity and correctness. Therefore it is necessary to accept the fact that the Liturgy has a character that is “established from above and not libertarian”, which by its essence is “incorruptible”, that “the visible signs used in the Liturgy to underline the Divine realities have been chosen by Christ or by the Church”. The corruption of liturgical life requires the approval of a new doctrinal document with emphasis on the observation of liturgical norms.
Christ should not suffer because of the abuses in the celebration of the Eucharist, which should always be received and lived by the faithful as “sacrum”, as the mysterious renewal of the Sacrifice of Christ, as His saving energy that transforms man and the world, as reinforcement of faith and the source of morality.

[00036-02.03] [IN030] [Original text: Italian]

- H.E. Most. Rev. Cristián CARO CORDERO, Archbishop of Puerto Montt (CHILE)

My intervention refers to two points. Firstly, the relationship between Eucharist and Penance, and secondly, Eucharist and Pastoral for Vocations.
1. The relationship between the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance is dealt with in the Instrumentum Laboris in n. 22-24, and also when speaking of the Eucharist, source of Christian Morals (n. 72-72).
The “Year of the Eucharist” has brought with it obvious spiritual and pastoral fruits in the life of the Church in Chile, which are projected, in one way or another, in the life of society. It has been providential that the Year has coincided with the canonization of Fr. Alberto Hurtado, who was a social and Eucharistic man.
My proposal is that, given the close theological, spiritual and pastoral relationship between the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance, and taking into account the shadows in the latter sacrament’s field, a year be dedicated to the Sacrament of Penance, taking as fundamental points the following:
a) The meaning of the living and true God and his eclipse in modern culture
b) The need of salvation and the announcement of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
c) The sense of sin, which is diminished or annulled, due to the loss of God and moral relativism
d) Conversion and the virtue of penance
e)Spiritual direction or accompaniment
f) The celebration of the Sacrament of Penance as an encounter between the sinner, who converts from his misery, and God who, in his mercy in Christ, welcomes and forgives him
g) The conditions for receiving Holy Communion
h) New life in Christ, as His disciples and members of the Church
2. With respect to the relationship between the Eucharist and the Pastoral for vocations, I propose that in the “Year of Penance” priests be formed and motivated to give spiritual direction to young people and to give time to the Sacrament of Reconciliation that, together with the Eucharist are fundamental in spiritual direction.

[00037-02.03] [IN031] [Original text: Spanish]

- Rev. Father Josep Maria ABELLA BATLLE, C.M.F., Superior General of the Missionaries of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Clarissans)

Number 25 of the Instrumentum Laboris states the need that the celebration of the Eucharist be capable to “form Eucharistic persons and communities who love and serve, like Jesus in the Eucharist.” What is being said, in truth, is that those who gather to celebrate the Easter of the Lord be, in the midst of society, a living memory and sign of the Lord who gives life.
However, frequently this does not occur. In the celebration a beautiful moment in lived, but then life follows on in its path, moved by other concerns, incapable of assuming the demands that flow from the Eucharist that has been celebrated. The celebration does not become spirituality in the life of the faithful nor is converted into missionary dynamism. One can observe a certain dichotomy between life and the Eucharist. The synod must analyze the causes of this situation in order to offer adequate pastoral answers. I note a few considerations in this sense.
1. In a cultural atmosphere of a certain superficiality like the one we frequently see, the Eucharist can become another one of those events that happens without leaving a major impact on people. Without a life lived with intensity and depth it is not possible to live the Eucharist with meaning. Eucharistic Pastoral has to take into account this anthropological-cultural dimension.
2. We perceive the need for a more explicit connection between the celebration of the Eucharist and the practical life of the people who participate in it. The Instrumentum, in fact, also asks for this in number 71. In order to do this it is necessary to give more emphasis to those elements which can help to find this connection, both in the Eucharistic Catechesis and in the celebration itself. The experience of the ecclesial base communities and other similar initiatives give us light on this point.
3.A third aspect has to do with the language, the signs, the very structure of the celebration and the mode of its realization. Sometimes it gives the impression that we have underlined too much the ritual dimension in detriment to that of “Memory” and “Shared Table”. Because of this there is a great loss of provocative strength which the memory of the Easter of Jesus has, and the demand for fraternity which flows from sharing the table of the Lord. We should seek, in each cultural context, the way to emphasize such fundamental dimensions, so that the dynamism of the Eucharist can transform the life of the faithful and be yeast of change in the real history of the peoples.

[00038-02.03] [IN032] [Original text: Spanish]

Below are the free interventions.


Return to:

- Index Bulletin Synodus Episcoporum - XI Ordinary General Assembly - 2005
  [Plurilingual, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish]

- Index Holy See Press Office
[English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish]