Monday, April 7, 2008

Christ Has Not Abandoned the Faithful, Says Pope

Encourages an Encounter With the Risen Christ

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 6, 2008 ( Even though the trials of life can make one feel abandoned by the Lord, an encounter with the Risen Christ can help recover the hope of faith.

The Pope said this today in a commentary on the Gospel account of the meeting of Jesus with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, which he gave before praying the Regina Caeli with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"The story is told of two disciples of Christ who, on the day after the Sabbath, that is, the third day after Jesus’ death, sad and dejected, leave Jerusalem and set out for nearby village called, precisely, Emmaus," began the Pontiff.

He continued: "Along the road, the risen Jesus comes and walks beside them but they do not recognize him. Seeing that they were disheartened, he explained, on the basis of the Scriptures, that the Messiah had to suffer and die to enter into his glory.

"Having entered into the house with them, he sat down at table with them, blessed the bread and broke it, and at that point they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight, leaving them full of wonder before the broken bread, new sign of his presence.

"And immediately the two returned to Jerusalem and told the other disciples what happened."

The Holy Father said that although the location of this event has never been identified with certainty, "in reality Emmaus represents every place: The road that leads there is the journey of every Christian, indeed, of every man. Along our roads the risen Jesus is our companion on the journey, to reignite in our hearts the warmth of faith and hope and the breaking of the bread of eternal life."

Benedict XVI said the experience of the disciples is similar to the experience of many believers today. He explained that in the conversation with the unknown traveler, the two disciples said: “We were hoping.”

"This past tense verb says everything," said the Pope. "We believed, we followed, we hoped, but now it is all over. Even Jesus of Nazareth, who had shown himself to be a powerful prophet in deeds and words, failed, and we are disappointed.

"This drama of the disciples of Emmaus is as a mirror of the situation of many Christians of our time. It seems that the hope of faith has failed.

"Faith itself enters into crisis because of negative experiences that make us feel like we are abandoned by the Lord. But this road to Emmaus on which we travel can become a way of purification and maturation of our believing in God."

The Holy Father continued: "Even today we can enter into conversation with Jesus listening to his word. Even today he breaks the bread for us and gives himself as our bread.

"And in this way the encounter with the risen Christ, which is possible even today, gives us a deeper and more authentic faith, tempered, so to speak, by the fire of the Easter event; a robust faith because it is nourished not by human ideas, but by the word of God and by his presence in the Eucharist."

Benedict XVI added that the Gospel account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus "contains the structure of the Mass: In the first part the hearing of the word through the sacred Scriptures; in the second the Eucharistic liturgy and communion with Christ present in the sacrament of his Body and his Blood."

"Nourished at this twofold table," he said, "the Church is unceasingly built up and renews itself day by day in faith, in hope and in charity."

1 comment:

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Vin: Great incorporation of paintings to go along with the Holy Father's words.

Thank God for Pope Benedict! He's such a great man and teacher.