#PopeFrancis "Jesus himself is the living Bread that gives life to the world" #Eucharist Congress FULL TEXT
Pope Francis - ANSA
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a video message to the participants in India's National Eucharistic Congress, taking place in Mumbai from November 12-15. In the message, Pope Francis praises the gathering, saying, "The Eucharistic Congress is God's gift not only to the Christians of India but to the entire population of a country so culturally diverse and yet so spiritually rich." The theme of the Congress is the Eucharist as nourishment, which moves and inspires us to nourish others.
Click below for the full audio of Pope Francis' message in English
Please find the full text of the Holy Father's message, below
My dear Brother Cardinal Thuttunkal Baselios Cleemis, President of the Bishops Conference,
My dear Brother Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President of the Organizing committee of the National Eucharistic Congress,
Beloved Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of India, brother priests and men and women religious, believers in Jesus Christ and all people of good will in India,
It is with great joy that I greet you as you gather for the National Eucharistic Congress. This Congress has great significance as it marks the golden jubilee ofthe International Eucharistic Congress celebrated in Mumbai in 1964, which was the first Congress to be personally presided over by the Holy Father. The National Eucharistic Congress this year also possesses another special quality because it will be celebrated just before the beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy which I have so desired. The theme chosen for the Eucharistic Congress, Nourished by the Eucharist to nourish others, is indeed very inspiring.
The Eucharistic Congress is God's gift not only to the Christians of India but to the entire population of a country so culturally diverse and yet so spiritually rich. For thousands of years India has been permeated with a desire for truth and a search for the divine, seeking goodness and kindness. As you celebrate this great event, I think of the words of Pope Paul VI in his address to the members of non-Christian religions on 3December 1964: “The Eucharist is the commemoration of Jesus Christ and his love for God the Father in heaven, and for all men, a love unto death. This love of Jesus is not a matter of the past; it is meant to remain present and to live in every human heart. Christ is dear also to this country, not only to those who are Christians – they are a minority – but to the millions of people who have come to know and love him as an inspiration of love and self-sacrifice”.
The Eucharist, as the theme of the Congress rightly points out, nourishes us. As I emphasized in my homily on Corpus Domini: "The Eucharist actualizes the Covenant that sanctifies us, purifies us and unites us in the marvellous Communion with God. Thus we learn that the Eucharist is not only a reward for the good but also the strength for the weak and for sinners. It is forgiveness and sustenance which helps us on our journey" (4 June 2015).
Human beings all over the word today need nourishment. And this nourishment is not only for satisfying physical hunger. There are other hungers – for love, immortality, affection, being cared for, forgiveness, mercy. These hungers can be satisfied only by the Bread that comes from above. Jesus himself is the living Bread that gives life to the world (cf.Jn 6:51). His Body offered for our sake on the cross and his Blood shed for the pardon of the sins of humanity are made available to us in the Eucharist.
But the Eucharistdoes not end withthe partakingof the Body and Blood of the Lord. It leadsus to solidarity withothers. Communion with the Lord is necessarily a communionwith our fellow brothers and sisters.And, therefore, the one who is fed and nourished by the very Body andBlood of Christ cannot remainunaffected when he sees his brothers and sisters suffering want and hunger. Thosenourished by theEucharist are called to bringthe joy of theGospel to those who have not yet received it. Strengthened by the living Bread,we are called to bring hope to those who live in darkness and despair.“In the Eucharist the Lord makes us walk on his road, that of service, of sharing, of giving; and ifit is shared, that littlewe have, that little we are, becomesriches, for the power of God – which is the power of love –comesdown into poverty to transform it" (Homily for Corpus Domini, 2013).
May this Eucharistic Congress be abeacon of light to thepeople of India. May it be the herald ofgreat joy and happiness. May it be an occasion for my Indian brothers and sisters to come together in unityand love. May all those who participate in this Eucharistic Congress walk withMary our Mother singing the Magnificat for all thatthe Lord has done for us.
I bless all of you, my dear brothers and sisters in India. May God be with you and your great country.