This is too important and beautiful to miss.
Pope Francis offered a stirring, eloquent homily Sunday on the Eucharist:
One cannot love and worship the Eucharist without compassion for the poor and marginalized, Pope Francis said at a Mass concluding Italy’s eucharistic congress.
“Let us recognize that the Eucharist is the prophecy of a new world, it is the presence of Jesus who asks us to dedicate ourselves to an effective conversion,” which includes the conversion from indifference to compassion, from waste to sharing, from selfishness to love and from individualism to fraternity, he said in his homily Sept. 25.
The pope concelebrated the Mass at an outdoor stadium in the southern Italian city of Matera, which was host to Italy’s 27th National Eucharistic Congress Sept. 22-25.
Rain, thunder and lightning storms forced the pope to travel by airplane and car rather than by helicopter from the Vatican.
In his homily, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (Lk 16:19-31), in which Jesus tells the parable about the nameless rich man who “dined sumptuously each day” and ignored the poor man, Lazarus, “who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps.”
When Lazarus died, “he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham,” however, when the rich man died, he was sent to “the netherworld, where he was in torment,” according to the Gospel reading.
Pope Francis said, “It is painful to see that this parable” is still alive today with so many “injustices, inequalities, the unequal distribution of the earth’s resources, the abuse of the powerful against the weak, the indifference to the cry of the poor, the abyss we dig every day creating marginalization.”
All of this, he said, “cannot leave us indifferent.”
The parable talks about the abyss or great chasm that the rich man dug between him and Lazarus when they were alive, so now, “in eternal life, that gulf remains,” the pope said…
…The Eucharist offers a “permanent challenge” to adore and worship God, not oneself, the pope said, and “to put him at the heart” of everything.
“Only the Lord is God, and everything else is a gift of his love,” he said.
The Vatican website as of Monday morning did not yet have the authorized English translation of the complete homily. But below is Google Translate’s version.
The Lord gathers us around his table, making himself bread for us: “It is the bread of the feast on the children’s table, […] creates sharing, strengthens bonds, has a taste for communion” ( Hymn XXVII National Eucharistic Congress , Matera 2022) . And yet, the Gospel we have just heard tells us that bread is not always shared on the table of the world: this is true; the perfume of communion does not always emanate; it is not always broken in righteousness.
It does us good to stop in front of the dramatic scene described by Jesus in this parable that we have heard: on the one hand a rich dress in purple and fine linen, which flaunts its opulence and feasted lavishly; on the other side, a poor man, covered with sores, lying on the door hoping that some crumbs to feed on will fall from that table. And faced with this contradiction – which we see every day – before this contradiction we ask ourselves: to what does the sacrament of the Eucharist, source and summit of the Christian’s life, invite us?
First of all, the Eucharist reminds us of the primacy of God. The rich man in the parable is not open to a relationship with God: he thinks only of his own well-being, of satisfying his needs, of enjoying life. And with this he also lost his name. The Gospel does not say what he was called: he names him with the adjective “a rich man”, instead of the poor he says the name: Lazarus. Riches lead you to this, they also strip you of your name. Satisfied with himself, drunk with money, stunned by the vanity fair, there is no room for God in his life because he only adores himself. It is no coincidence that his name is not mentioned: we call him “rich”, we define him only with an adjective because he has now lost his name, he has lost his identity which is given only by the assets he possesses. How sad this reality is even today, when we confuse who we are with what we have, when we judge people by the wealth they have, the titles they exhibit, the roles they hold or the brand of clothes they wear. It is the religion of having and appearing , which often dominates the scene of this world, but in the end leaves us empty-handed: always. In fact, this rich man of the Gospel does not even have his name left. He is no longer anyone. On the contrary, the poor man has a name, Lazarus, which means “God helps”. Even in his condition of poverty and marginalization, he can keep his dignity intact because he lives in relationship with God. In his very name there is something of God and God is the unshakable hope of his life.
Here then is the permanent challenge that the Eucharist offers to our life: to adore God and not ourselves, not ourselves. Putting him at the center and not the vanity of one’s self. Remind us that only the Lord is God and everything else is a gift of his love. Because if we adore ourselves, we die in the asphyxiation of our little self; if we adore the riches of this world, they take possession of us and enslave us; if we worship the god of appearance and get drunk on waste, sooner or later life itself will ask us for the bill. Life always asks us for the bill. On the other hand, when we adore the Lord Jesus present in the Eucharist, we also receive a new look at our life: I am not the things I possess or the successes I manage to obtain; the value of my life does not depend on how much I manage to exhibit nor does it diminish when I encounter failures and failures. I am a beloved child, each of us is a beloved child; I am blessed by God; He wanted to clothe me with beauty and he wants me free, he wants me free from all slavery. Let us remember this: whoever worships God does not become a slave to anyone: he is free. Let’s rediscover the prayer of adoration, a prayer that is frequently forgotten. To adore, the prayer of adoration, let us rediscover it: it frees us and restores us to our dignity as children, not as slaves.
In addition to the primacy of God, the Eucharist calls us to the love of the brothers. This Bread is the sacrament of love par excellence. It is Christ who offers himself and breaks for us and asks us to do the same, so that our life may be ground wheat and become bread that feeds our brothers. The rich man of the Gospel fails in this task; he lives in opulence, feasting abundantly without even noticing the silent cry of poor Lazarus, who lies exhausted at his door. Only at the end of his life, when the Lord overturns the fate, does he finally notice Lazarus, but Abraham tells him: “A great abyss has been set between us and you” ( Lk 16:26). But you fixed it: you yourself. It is we, when in selfishness we stare into abysses. It was the rich man who dug an abyss between him and Lazarus during his earthly life and now, in eternal life, that abyss remains. Because our eternal future depends on this present life: if we dig now an abyss with our brothers and sisters -, we “dig the grave” for the afterwards; if we now raise walls against brothers and sisters, we remain imprisoned in loneliness and death even afterwards.
Dear brothers and sisters, it is painful to see that this parable is still history of our days: the injustices, the disparities, the resources of the earth distributed in an unequal way, the abuses of the powerful against the weak, the indifference towards the cry of the poor. , the abyss that we dig every day by generating marginalization, cannot – all these things – leave us indifferent. And so today, together, we recognize that the Eucharist is a prophecy of a new world, it is the presence of Jesus who asks us to commit ourselves so that an effective conversion takes place: conversion from indifference to compassion, conversion from waste to sharing, conversion from selfishness to love, conversion from individualism to fraternity.
Brothers and sisters, we dream. We dream of a Church like this: a Eucharistic Church. Made of men and women who break like bread for all those who chew loneliness and poverty, for those who are hungry for tenderness and compassion, for those whose life is crumbling because the good leaven of hope has failed . A Church that kneels before the Eucharist and adores with wonder the Lord present in the bread; but who also knows how to bend with compassion and tenderness before the wounds of those who suffer, relieving the poor, drying the tears of those who suffer, making themselves bread of hope and joy for all. Because there is no true Eucharistic worship without compassion for the many “Lazarus” who even today walk alongside us. Many!
Brothers, sisters, from this city of Matera, “city of bread,” I would like to tell you: let’s go back to Jesus, let’s go back to the Eucharist. Let us return to the taste of bread, because while we are hungry for love and hope, or we are broken by the travails and sufferings of life, Jesus becomes food that feeds us and heals us. Let us return to the taste of bread, because while injustices and discrimination against the poor continue to be consumed in the world, Jesus gives us the Bread of sharing and sends us every day as apostles of brotherhood, apostles of justice, apostles of peace. Let us return to the taste of bread in order to be the Eucharistic Church, which places Jesus at the center and becomes bread of tenderness, bread of mercy for all. Let us return to the taste of bread to remember that, while our earthly existence is being consumed, the Eucharist anticipates the promise of the resurrection and guides us towards new life that overcomes death.
Today we think seriously about the rich man and Lazarus. This happens every day. And many times also – let us be ashamed – this struggle happens in us, among us, in the community. And when hope is extinguished and we feel in us the loneliness of the heart, the inner fatigue, the torment of sin, the fear of not succeeding, we return again to the taste of bread.
We are all sinners: each of us carries his own sins. But, sinners, let us return to the taste of the Eucharist, to the taste of bread. Let’s go back to Jesus, we adore Jesus, we welcome Jesus. Because He is the only one who overcomes death and always renews our life.