VATICAN CITY, OCT. 14, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is the translation of the address Pope Benedict XVI gave during a luncheon on Friday celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Present at the luncheon were the participating cardinals and bishops from the Synod of Bishops and Council Father who attended the Second Vatican Council. Also present were His Holiness Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and His Grace, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Anglican Communion.
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First of all I would like to announce a little mercy for you, that is, this evening, we will not be starting at 4.30 – that seems inhumane to me – but at 5.45pm.
It is a lovely tradition initiated by Pope John Paul II to crown the Synod with a shared meal. For me it is a great joy to find on my right His Holiness the Patriarch Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and on my other side Archbishop Rowan Williams from the Anglican Communion.
For me this communion is a sign that we are walking towards unity and that in our hearts we are making progress. The Lord will help us to advance, in an external way as well. This joy, it seems to me, might also give us strength in the mandate of evangelization. Synodus means “shared walk”, “walking together”, and so the word synodus makes me think of the famous walk of the Lord with the two disciples who were going to Emmaus, who are to an extent an image of the agnostic world of today. Jesus, their hope, had died: the world was empty; it seemed that either God did not exist or had no interest in us. With this despair in their hearts, but still with a little flame of faith, they walk on. The Lord walks mysteriously beside them and helps them to better understand the mystery of God, His presence in history, His silent walking with us. In the end, at supper, when the words of the Lord and their listening have already lit up their hearts and illuminated their minds, they recognize Him at the meal and finally their hearts start to see. Thus in the Synod we are walking together with our contemporaries. We pray to the Lord that He may illuminate us, that He may light up our hearts so they may become prophetic, that He may illuminate our minds; and we pray that at supper, in the Eucharistic communion, we can really be open, see Him and thus also light up the world and give His light to this world of ours.
In this sense, the supper – as the Lord often used lunch and supper as a symbol for the Kingdom of God – might also be for us a symbol of our walking together and an opportunity to pray to the Lord that He might accompany us and help us. In this sense, let us now say the prayer of thanksgiving.
Have a good rest and I’ll see you in the Synod Hall! Thank you![Original Text: Italian]