Sunday Reflection – 13 August – 21st Sunday of the Year in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: John 6:60–69
Eucharistic Meditation by Pope Benedict XVI (Excerpt)
Lourdes, 14 September 2008
Do Not Refuse His Love
This evening, we do not see them but we hear them saying to us, to every man and to every woman among us: “Come, let the Master call you! He is here! He is calling you” (cf. Jn 11:28)! He wants to take your life and join it to His. Let yourself be embraced by Him! Gaze no longer upon your own wounds, gaze upon His. Do not look upon what still separates you from Him and from others; look upon the infinite distance that He has abolished by taking your flesh, by mounting the Cross which men had prepared for Him and by letting Himself be put to death so as to show you His love. In His wounds, He takes hold of you; in His wounds, He hides you. Do not refuse His Love!”
Contemplate the Wounds of Christ
The immense crowd of witnesses who have allowed themselves to be embraced by His Love, is the crowd of saints in heaven who never cease to intercede for us. They were sinners and they knew it but they willingly ceased to gaze upon their own wounds and to gaze only upon the wounds of their Lord, so as to discover there the glory of the Cross, to discover there the victory of Life over death. Saint Pierre-Julien Eymard (1811-1868) tells us everything when he cries out: “The holy Eucharist is Jesus Christ, past, present and future” (Sermons and Parochial Instructions After 1856, 4-2.1, “On Meditation”).
Jesus Christ Past
Jesus Christ, past, in the historical truth of the evening in the Upper Room, to which every celebration of holy Mass leads us back.
Jesus Christ Present
Jesus Christ, present, because He said to us: “Take and eat of this, all of you, this is my Body, this is my Blood.” “This is”, in the present, here and now, as in every here and now throughout human history. The Real Presence, the Presence which surpasses our poor lips, our poor hearts, our poor thoughts. The Presence offered for us to contemplate as we do here, this evening, close to the grotto where Mary revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception.
Jesus Christ Coming
The Eucharist is also Jesus Christ, future, Jesus Christ to come. When we contemplate the Sacred Host, His glorious transfigured and risen Body, we contemplate what we shall contemplate in eternity, where we shall discover that the whole world has been carried by its Creator during every second of its history. Each time we consume Him but also each time we contemplate Him, we proclaim Him until he comes again, “donec veniat”. That is why we receive Him with infinite respect.
Remain Silent, Then Speak
Beloved brothers and sisters, day pilgrims and inhabitants of these valleys, brother Bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, all of you who see before you the infinite abasement of the Son of God and the infinite glory of the Resurrection, remain in silent adoration of your Lord, our Master and Lord Jesus Christ. Remain silent, then speak and tell the world: we cannot be silent about what we know. Go and tell the whole world the marvels of God, present at every moment of our lives, in every place on earth. May God bless us and keep us, may He lead us on the path of eternal life, He who is Life, forever and ever. Amen.