Lc 24, Abrumados por tristes pensamientos, no se imaginaban que aquel desconocido fuera precisamente su Maestro, ya resucitado. Mt 28, Ef 1,10; Col 1,
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Lk This was the insistent invitation that the two disciples journeying to Emmaus on the evening of the day of the resurrection addressed to the Wayfarer who had accompanied them on their journey. Weighed down with sadness, they never imagined that this stranger was none other than their Master, risen from the dead.
Yet they felt their hearts burning within them cf. Amid the shadows of the passing day and the darkness that clouded their spirit, the Wayfarer brought a ray of light which rekindled their hope and led their hearts to yearn for the fullness of light. And he agreed. The image of the disciples on the way to Emmaus can serve as a fitting guide for a Year when the Church will be particularly engaged in living out the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. Amid our questions and difficulties, and even our bitter disappointments, the divine Wayfarer continues to walk at our side, opening to us the Scriptures and leading us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of God.
Mt Through it Christ makes present within time the mystery of his death and resurrection. Following the teaching of the Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils and my own Predecessors, I have frequently urged the Church to reflect upon the Eucharist, most recently in the Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia.
Here I do not intend to repeat this teaching, which I trust will be more deeply studied and understood. At the same time I thought it helpful for this purpose to dedicate an entire Year to this wonderful sacrament. As is known, the Year of the Eucharist will be celebrated from October to October I would like the young people to gather around the Eucharist as the vital source which nourishes their faith and enthusiasm.
A Eucharistic initiative of this kind had been on my mind for some time: it is a natural development of the pastoral impulse which I wanted to give to the Church, particularly during the years of preparation for the Jubilee and in the years that followed it. In the present Apostolic Letter, I wish to reaffirm this pastoral continuity and to help everyone to grasp its spiritual significance. As for the particular form which the Year of the Eucharist will take, I am counting on the personal involvement of the Pastors of the particular Churches, whose devotion to this great Mystery will not fail to suggest suitable approaches.
My Brother Bishops will certainly understand that this initiative, coming as it does so soon after the celebration of the Year of the Rosary, is meant to take place on a deeply spiritual level, so that it will in no way interfere with the pastoral programmes of the individual Churches.
Rather, it can shed light upon those programmes, anchoring them, so to speak, in the very Mystery which nourishes the spiritual life of the faithful and the initiatives of each local Church. I am not asking the individual Churches to alter their pastoral programmes, but to emphasize the Eucharistic dimension which is part of the whole Christian life.
For my part, I would like in this Letter to offer some basic guidelines; and I am confident that the People of God, at every level, will welcome my proposal with enthusiasm and fervent love. Ten years ago, in Tertio Millennio Adveniente 10 November , I had the joy of proposing to the Church a programme of preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year It seemed to me that this historic moment presented itself as a great grace.
I realized, of course, that a simple chronological event, however evocative, could not by itself bring about great changes. Unfortunately the Millennium began with events which were in tragic continuity with the past, and often with its worst aspects. A scenario emerged which, despite certain positive elements, is marred by acts of violence and bloodshed which cause continued concern. Even so, in inviting the Church to celebrate the Jubilee of the two-thousandth anniversary of the Incarnation, I was convinced—and I still am, more than ever!
Jesus Christ stands at the centre not just of the history of the Church, but also the history of humanity. In him, all things are drawn together cf. In the Incarnate Word, both the mystery of God and the mystery of man are revealed.
In the Encyclical Redemptor Hominis , at the beginning of my Pontificate, I developed this idea, and I have frequently returned to it on other occasions. The Jubilee was a fitting time to invite believers once again to consider this fundamental truth. The preparation for the great event was fully Trinitarian and Christocentric. Within this plan, there clearly had to be a place for the Eucharist. It is also worth recalling that my Apostolic Letter Dies Domini, written in preparation for the Jubilee, invited believers to meditate on Sunday as the day of the Risen Lord and the special day of the Church.
At that time I urged everyone to rediscover the celebration of the Eucharist as the heart of Sunday. Subsequently, with the proclamation of the Year of the Rosary and the publication of the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I returned to the theme of contemplating the face of Christ, now from a Marian perspective, by encouraging once more the recitation of the Rosary.
In its flow of repetitions, it represents a kind of pedagogy of love, aimed at evoking within our hearts the same love that Mary bore for her Son. From the Year of the Rosary to the Year of the Eucharist In the midst of the Year of the Rosary, I issued the Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia , with the intention of shedding light on the mystery of the Eucharist in its inseparable and vital relation to the Church.
I urged all the faithful to celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice with due reverence, offering to Jesus present in the Eucharist, both within and outside Mass, the worship demanded by so great a Mystery. The Year of the Eucharist takes place against a background which has been enriched by the passage of the years, while remaining ever rooted in the theme of Christ and the contemplation of his face.
In a certain sense, it is meant to be a year of synthesis, the high-point of a journey in progress. Much could be said about how to celebrate this year. I would simply offer some reflections intended to help us all to experience it in a deeper and more fruitful way. The account of the Risen Jesus appearing to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus helps us to focus on a primary aspect of the Eucharistic mystery, one which should always be present in the devotion of the People of God: The Eucharist is a mystery of light!
What does this mean, and what are its implications for Christian life and spirituality? Yet in the Eucharist the glory of Christ remains veiled. The Eucharist is pre-eminently a mysterium fidei. Through the mystery of his complete hiddenness, Christ becomes a mystery of light, thanks to which believers are led into the depths of the divine life.
It is Christ himself who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read in the Church. The Eucharist unfolds in a dynamic context of signs containing a rich and luminous message. Through these signs the mystery in some way opens up before the eyes of the believer. As I emphasized in my Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia , it is important that no dimension of this sacrament should be neglected.
We are constantly tempted to reduce the Eucharist to our own dimensions, while in reality it is we who must open ourselves up to the dimensions of the Mystery. There is no doubt that the most evident dimension of the Eucharist is that it is a meal. The Eucharist was born, on the evening of Holy Thursday, in the setting of the Passover meal. Being a meal is part of its very structure. Then he took a cup and As such, it expresses the fellowship which God wishes to establish with us and which we ourselves must build with one another.
Yet it must not be forgotten that the Eucharistic meal also has a profoundly and primarily sacrificial meaning. At the same time, while the Eucharist makes present what occurred in the past, it also impels us towards the future, when Christ will come again at the end of history. With the entire tradition of the Church, we believe that Jesus is truly present under the Eucharistic species.
It is precisely his presence which gives the other aspects of the Eucharist — as meal, as memorial of the Paschal Mystery, as eschatological anticipation — a significance which goes far beyond mere symbol- ism.
Celebrating, worshiping, contemplating The Eucharist is a great mystery! And it is one which above all must be well celebrated. One specific project of this Year of the Eucharist might be for each parish community to study the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Care should be taken to show that awareness through tone of voice, gestures, posture and bearing. In this regard, liturgical law recalls—and I myself have recently reaffirmed 15 —the importance of moments of silence both in the celebration of Mass and in Eucharistic adoration.
The way that the ministers and the faithful treat the Eucharist should be marked by profound respect. During this year Eucharistic adoration outside Mass should become a particular commitment for individual parish and religious communities.
Let us take the time to kneel before Jesus present in the Eucharist, in order to make reparation by our faith and love for the acts of carelessness and neglect, and even the insults which our Saviour must endure in many parts of the world. Let us deepen through adoration our personal and communal contemplation, drawing upon aids to prayer inspired by the word of God and the experience of so many mystics, old and new. The Rosary itself, when it is profoundly understood in the biblical and christocentric form which I recommended in the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, will prove a particularly fitting introduction to Eucharistic contemplation, a contemplation carried out with Mary as our companion and guide.
Our faith in the God who took flesh in order to become our companion along the way needs to be everywhere proclaimed, especially in our streets and homes, as an expression of our grateful love and as an inexhaustible source of blessings.