Pope's meditation on Eucharist closes WYD
Aug. 22 (CWNews.com) - At the closing Mass for World
Youth Day (WYD) on August 21, Pope Benedict XVI
delivered a profound meditation on the Eucharist,
challenging young Catholics to recognize the Mass as the
core of Christian life and worship.
Speaking to a massive congregation of about 1 million
people at the Marienfeld park outside Cologne, and using
several different languages in the course of his homily,
Pope Benedict said that today's young Christians must
avoid the perils of a secular culture that is forgetful
of God, and the proliferation of sects that make
religion a consumer product.
(The previous evening, during a vigil at Marienfeld, the
Pope had told his young listeners that the power of
faith is greater and more productive than human
Christ's Church, the Pope said, must be fully identified
with Christ's sacrifice: "In the Eucharist, adoration
must become union."
In the climactic ceremony of the World Youth Day
celebrated during the Year of the Eucharist, the Pontiff
devoted most of his homily to a commentary on the
Eucharist. He explained: "This is the transubstantiation
which was accomplished at the Last Supper, and was
destined to set into motion a series of transformations
leading ultimately to the transformation of the world,
when God will be all in all."
Those who join in the Eucharistic celebration must allow
themselves to be transformed by Christ's self-giving
sacrifice, the Pope continued; "the process of
transformation must now gather momentum. The Body and
Blood of Christ are given to us so that we ourselves
will be transformed in our turn."
The transformation is so complete, the Holy Father
continued, that "God no no longer simply stands before
us, as the one who is totally Other. He is within us,
and we are in him."
Full participation in the Eucharist, Benedict XVI said,
entails becoming an instrument of God's will. Through
union with Christ's sacrifice, the faithful are "drawn
into that process of transformation that the Lord
intends to bring about."
Next the Pope reflected on how the Eucharist inspires
Christians to evangelization. "Anyone who has discovered
Christ must lead others to him," he said. "A great joy
cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on."
At the conclusion of the Mass, the Pope renewed his
challenge to the young participants to bring the message
of the Gospel back to their own lands. He urged them to
share their faith with their neighbors, "especially
those in difficulty," and to be "sowers of peace and
After announcing that the next World Youth Day would be
held in Sydney, Australia, in 2008, and offering
heartfelt thanks to the German hosts and organizers of
this year's celebration, the Pope gave his final
blessing to the crowd.
With threatening clouds appearing on the horizon over
Marienfeld, and gusts of wind sweeping across the park,
Pope Benedict made his departure, to sustained applause.
As he left, the field echoed with the chant: