Communion Is "God in Man, and Man in God"

John Paul II´s Angelus Greeting to Pilgrims

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2001 ( Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address at midday today, before praying the «Angelus,» at St. Peter´s Square.

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Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

1. I still have very vividly in mind the devout eucharistic celebration that I presided over last Thursday, solemnity of Corpus Domini, at St. John Lateran, and the subsequent solemn procession, which ended at St. Mary Major. For pastoral reasons, this beautiful and traditional feast is celebrated today, Sunday, in Italy and many countries.

The ecclesial Community gathers around in adoration of the most precious treasure that Christ the Lord left it in heritage: the sacrament of the Eucharist, perpetual memorial of his redemptive sacrifice.

Corpus Domini is a feast of moving popular resonance, linked especially to the very eloquent tradition of accompanying the Blessed Sacrament in procession through the streets of cities and nations. It is a joyful celebration, for the marvelous gift of the Bread to which Christ has linked his promise of eternal life: Bread that is really his flesh, namely, his humanity, through which God sanctifies hearts, people, communities, nations and the whole cosmos.

So the Eucharist becomes principle of a new humanity and renewed world, whose full manifestation will take place at the end of history. Already now, however, it grows as seed and leaven of the Kingdom of God.

2. The distinguishing mark of the new humanity redeemed by Christ is the fullness of fraternal love. In fact, the Eucharist is above all the sacrament of love, understood as gift of self.

Without the spiritual nourishment that comes from the Body and Blood of Christ, human love always remains contaminated by egoism. However, communion with the Bread of heaven converts hearts and infuses in them the capacity to love as Jesus has loved us.

«Communion»: this word, with which we often refer to the Eucharist is, in this connection, that much more significant. Whoever receives the Body of Christ with faith is intimately united to him, and in him, to God the Father, in the love of the Holy Spirit. God in man, man in God. And this become the real foundation of the communion of the Church. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: «Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body» (1 Corinthians 10:17).

3. Jesus, Bread of eternal life, descended from heaven thanks to Most Holy Mary´s faith. After carrying him in her womb with ineffable love, she faithfully followed the Incarnate Word all the way to the cross and the resurrection. Let us ask Mary to help us rediscover the centrality of the Eucharist, especially in the Lord´s day, to fully live fraternal communion. Moreover, we ask her to lead us to real unity. I would like to entrust to Mary in a very special way the next pilgrimage that I will undertake to Ukraine, beginning this Saturday. May this apostolic trip mark a further stage in the way to the desired unity of all Christians.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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