June 21-22, 2000
volume 11, no. 111
The Holy Father's words in THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS for June 21-22, 2000
1. We have arrived at the heart of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. During these days we will live some culminating moments with the Liturgy. The profound meaning of the Jubilee event is revealed in them. Indeed, in the span of a week we celebrate two solemnities: Trinity Sunday and the Body and Blood of the Lord, in which the character of this Holy Year is fully manifested, at once Trinitarian and Eucharistic.
Prepared by three years of reflections on Christ, the Spirit and the Father, the Jubilee's purpose is to give thanks and praise to the divine Trinity from whom everything comes and to whom everything tends, in the world and history (Cf. Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 55).
But "the way," and "the door" of access to the mystery of the Love of God is only one: Jesus, who was born, died, and rose to give life to every man and woman. Before dying on the cross, the victim for the expiation of our sins, He left the Church the memorial of his redemptive sacrifice: the sacrament of the Eucharist. Because of this, 2000 cannot be other than an "intensely Eucharistic" year (ibid.), and Rome hosts the International Eucharistic Congress, which will begin, precisely, this evening.
2. "In the sacrament of the Eucharist the Savior, being incarnated in Mary's womb twenty centuries ago, continues to offer himself to humanity as the source of divine life" (ibid.). This is the meaning of the theme chosen by the Eucharistic Congress 2000: "Jesus Christ, only Savior of the World, Bread for the New Life."
This evening I shall solemnly open the Congress with the celebration of Vespers in St. Peter's Square. The week will then be rich by moments of prayer, art, and festivity. Among so many events, I mention in particular the congress of "The Eucharist and the Face of Christ," and the Jubilee of Italian catechists.
Next Thursday we will celebrate the solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord: the traditional Eucharistic procession will move from the Basilica of St. John Lateran to St. Mary Major. The great closing celebration, known as "Statio Orbis," will take place in St. Peter's Square next Sunday evening, almost as though expressing that humanity remains still before the greatest of prodigies: God Who under the species of bread and wine, makes Himself food to feed the whole world.
3. Where the senses and reason cannot reach, it is faith that sustains man in his perception of the mystery. The creature, who more than any other is teacher of faith, is the Blessed Virgin Mary. In face of the depth of the Love of God, she teaches confident abandonment; in face of the crucified and risen Son, she invites us to communion with Him.
May Mary guide us, so that we can live these days of grace in fullness and fruitfulness. (ZENIT Translation) ZE00061820
June 21-22, 2000
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