Sunday, October 02, 2005

Pope Opens Synod of Bishops


On the Eucharist...

Snipets From Benedict's Opening Homily:

Right in this hour in which we celebrate the Eucharist, in which we launch the Synod of the Eucharist, He comes to meet us, comes to meet me. Will he find a response? Or will the same happen to us as with the vine, of which God told Isaiah: “He expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes”? Isn’t our Christian life often more vinegar than wine? Self-pity, conflict, indifference?...

...We want to be masters in the first place and by ourselves. We want to possess the world and our own lives in an unlimited way. God is an encumbrance for us. We either pay devoted lip service to Him or deny Him completely; He is banished from public life, losing all meaning. A tolerance which acknowledges God, as it were, as a private opinion, but which refuses him any public domain, the reality of the world and of our life, is not tolerance but hypocrisy. Where man makes himself the only master of the world and master of himself, justice cannot exist. There only the arbiter of power and of interests can dominate. Certainly, the Son can be chased out of the vineyard and killed, so one can selfishly savour all the fruits of the earth alone. But soon the vineyard will turn into uncultivated terrain trampled by wild boars, as the Responsorial Psalm tells us (cf. Ps 79:14)...

...But the threat of judgement regards us too, the Church in Europe, Europe and the West in general. With this Gospel, the Lord is shouting into our ears the same words he told the Church of Ephesus in the Apocalypse: “Unless you repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (2,5). The light may be taken away from us too, and we would do well to allow this warning in all its gravity to resound in our soul, at the same time crying to the Lord: “Help us to convert! Give us all the grace of a true renewal! Do not allow your light among us to be extinguished! Reinforce our faith, our hope and our love, so we may bear good fruit!”...

...Life sprang from the Son’s death, a new construction, a new vineyard is formed. He, who at Cana changed water into wine, changed his blood into wine of true love and in doing so he transformed wine into his blood. In the cenacle, he anticipated his death and transformed it into a gift of self in an act of radical love. His blood is a gift, it is love and for this it is the true wine which the Creator was waiting for. In this way, Christ himself becomes the grapevine, and this grapevine always bears good fruit: the presence of his love for us, which is indestructible...

...In the holy Eucharist, He draws all to himself from the cross (Jn 12:32) and he makes us become shoots of the grapevine which is Himself. If we remain united in Him, then we will also bear fruit and no longer will the vinegar of self-sufficiency, of discontent with God and his creation flow from us; rather there will be good wine of rejoicing in God and of love towards our neighbour. We pray that the Lord gives us his grace, so that in the three weeks of the Synod which we are starting, we will not only say nice things about the Eucharist, but above all we will draw life from its power. We invoke this gift through Mary, dear Fathers of the Synod, who I greet with much affection, together with the many Communities from which you come and which you represent, so that obedient to the movements of the Holy Spirit, we can help the world to become, in Christ and with Christ, the fertile grapevine of God. Amen.