Below is a translation of the Pope’s homily given at the closing Mass for Saturday’s Calabrian visit to the Diocese of Cassano allo Jonio, which was celebrated at Piana di Sibari, the largest plain in Calabria, at 4 p.m.:
On the feast of Corpus Domini, we celebrate Jesus “living bread that came down from heaven” (Jn 6,51), food for our hunger for eternal life, strength for our journey. I thank the Lord, who today allows me to celebrate Corpus Domini with you, brothers and sisters of this Church, which is in Cassano allo Jonio. Today’s feast is that on which the Church praises the Lord for the gift of the Eucharist. While on Holy Thursday, we recall its institution at the Last Supper, today thanksgiving and adoration predominate. And, in fact, it is tradition on this day to have the procession with the Blessed Sacrament. To adore Jesus Eucharist and to walk with him. These are the two inseparable aspects of today’s feast, two aspects that mark the entire life of the Christian people: a people that adores God and walks with him.
Before all else, we are a people who adores God. We adore God, who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave himself for us, offered himself on the cross to expiate our sins and by the power of this love he rose from death and lives in his Church. We do have no other God than this!
When adoration of the Lord is substituted by adoration of money, the road to sin opens to personal interest … When one does not adore the Lord, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live by dishonesty and violence. Your land, which so beautiful, knows the signs of the consequences of this sin. The ‘ndrangheta (Calabrian mafia) is this: adoration of evil and contempt of the common good. This evil must be fought, must be expelled. It must be told no. The Church, which is so committed to educating consciences, must always expend itself even more so that good can prevail. Our children ask this of us. Our young people ask this of us, they, who need hope. To be able to respond to this demands, faith can help us. Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated.
Today, we confess this with our gaze turned to Corpus Domini, to the Sacrament of the altar. And, for this faith, we renounce Satan and all of his temptations; we renounce the idols of money, vanity, pride and power. We, Christians, do not want to adore anything or anyone in this world except Jesus Christ, who is present in the Holy Eucharist. Perhaps we do not always realize what this means in all its depth, the consequences our profession of faith has or should have. Today we ask the Lord to enlighten us and to convert us, so that we truly adore only him and we renounce evil in all its forms.
But our faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, in the consecrated bread and wine, is authentic if we commit to follow him and to walk with him, seeking to put into practice his commandment which he gave to the disciples at the Last Supper: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (Jn 13,34). A people who adores God in the Eucharist is a people who walks in charity.
Today, as bishop of Rome, I am here to confirm you not only in faith but also in charity, to accompany you and to encourage you in your journey with Jesus Charity. I want to express my support to the bishop, the priests and the deacons of this Church, and also of the Eparchy of Lungro, rich in its Greek-Byzantine tradition. But I extend it to all the pastors and faithful of the Church in Calabria, courageously committed to evangelization and to promoting lifestyles and initiatives which put at the centre the needs of the poor and of the. And I also extend it to the civil authorities who seek to live political and administrative commitment for what it is—a service to the common good.
I encourage all to witness practical solidarity with your brothers, especially those who most need justice, hope and tenderness. Thank God, there are many signs of hope in your families, parishes, associations and ecclesial movements. The Lord Jesus does not cease to inspire acts of charity in his people who journey! The Policoro Project is a concrete sign of hope for young people who want to get in the game and create work possibilities for themselves and for others. You, dear young people, do not let yourselves to be robbed of hope! Adoring Jesus in your hears and remaining united to him you will know how to oppose evil, injustice, violence with the force of good, truth and beauty.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Eucharist has gathered us together. The Body of the Lord makes of us one, one family, the people of God united around Jesus, Bread of Life. That which I said to the young people, I say to all of you: if you will adore Christ, follow him and walk with him, your diocesan Church and your parishes will grow in faith and charity, in the joy of evangelizing. You will be a Church in which fathers, mothers, priests, religious, catechists, children, the elderly and the young walk alongside each other, support each other, help each other, love each other like brothers, especially in moments of difficulty.
Mary, Eucharistic Woman, whom you venerate in many sanctuaries, especially at the one in Castrovillari, precedes you in this pilgrimage of faith. May she always help you to stay united so that, even by means of your witness, the Lord may continue to give life to the world.[Original Text in Italian] [Translation by Vatican Radio]