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Corpus Christi

Catechesis by Pope St John Paul II
in the Jubilee of the Redemption
General Audience, Wednesday 1 June 1983 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. Dearest brothers and sisters! Tomorrow we will celebrate the solemnity of the "Body and Blood of Christ".

In this Jubilee Year, in which the mystery of the Redemption is present in a totally special way in our prayer and reflection, the feast of the Eucharist assumes a particularly significant value. In the Eucharist, in fact, the Redemption is relived in an actual way: the sacrifice of Christ, (in/by) becoming sacrifice of the Church, produces in today's humanity its fruits of reconciliation and salvation.

When, in the name and in the person of Christ,
the priest pronounces the words: "This is my body offered in sacrifice for you", he not only affirms the presence of the Body of Christ; he also expresses the sacrifice with which Jesus gave his life for the salvation of all. In fact, Christ understood this by instituting the Eucharist. Already in the discourse of Capernaum, after the multiplication of the loaves, so as to make understood the excellence of the Bread which he wanted to procure for the hungry crowds, he had declared: "The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world" (Jn 6 , 51). The gift of eucharistic food had to cost Jesus the immolation of his very flesh. Thanks to the sacrifice, this flesh could communicate life.

The consecrating words on the wine are even more explicit: "This is the chalice of my blood for the new and eternal covenant, poured out for you and for all in remission of sins". The blood given as drink is the blood which was shed on Calvary for the constitution of the new covenant. The first covenant had been broken by sin; Christ establishes a new covenant, which can no longer be broken, because it is realized in his very person, in which humanity has been definitively reconciled with God.

2. Thus, in the consecration of bread and wine, the redemptive sacrifice is rendered present. With the mediation of the priest, Christ offers himself in a mysterious way, presenting to the Father the gift of his own life, made in his time upon the Cross. In the Eucharist there is not only a memory of the sacrifice offered once for all on Calvary. That sacrifice becomes actual again by being renewed sacramentally in every community that offers it through/by the hand of the consecrated Minister.

It is true that the sacrifice of Calvary was enough to obtain for humanity all the graces of salvation: the Eucharistic sacrifice does nothing but reap its fruits. But Christ wanted his offering to be continually rendered present so as to join the Christian community. In every Eucharist the Church is committed to the sacrifice of her Lord, and Christians are called to unite their personal offering to/with it. The Eucharist is at the same time sacrifice of Christ and sacrifice of the Church, because in it Christ unites the Church to his redemptive work, making her participate in his offering.

How important it is, therefore, that the faithful in taking part in the Eucharist assume/take a personal attitude of offering. It is not sufficient that they listen to the word of God, nor that they pray in community; it is necessary that they make Christ's offering their own, offering with him and in him their pains, their difficulties, their trials, and, more still/even more, their very selves so as to raise this their gift, with the one that Christ makes of his very self, up to the Father.

By entering into the sacrificial offering of the Saviour, they participate in the victory he won over the evil of the world. When we are shaken by the vision of evil that spreads in the universe, with all the devastation that it produces, we must not forget that the unleashing of the forces of sin is dominated by the saving power of Christ. Every time that the words of the consecration are pronounced in the Mass and the body and blood of the Lord return present/ are present again in the act of sacrifice, the triumph of love over hatred, and of holiness over sin is also present. Every/Each Eucharistic celebration is stronger than all the evil of the universe; it means a real, concrete accomplishment/fulfillment of the Redemption, and an ever deeper reconciliation of sinful humanity with God, in the perspective of a better world.

3. By extending the application of the redemptive work to humanity, the Eucharistic sacrifice contributes to the edification of the Church. On Calvary, Christ merited salvation not only for every single man (& woman), but for the community as a whole; his offering obtained the grace of the reunification of men (& women)/mankind in the Body of the Church. The Eucharist tends to realise concretely this objective, building the ecclesial Community every day. The sacrifice of the altar has the effect of strengthening the holiness of the Church and fostering her expansion in the world. In this sense it can be said that the Eucharistic celebration is always a missionary act; it obtains, invisibly, a greater force of penetration by the Church in all human environments.

To build/edify the Church means, moreover, to consolidate always more its unity. Not by chance Jesus, at the Last Supper, prayed for the unity of his disciples. It is understood, therefore, how the Church, in every Eucharistic celebration, follows the example of the Master, praying for unity to be ever more real and ever more perfect.

In such a/this way the Eucharist makes/advances the ecumenical approach of all Christians /progress/ and, in the Catholic Church, it tends to tighten/forge the ties/bonds that unite the faithful above/over the legitimate differences that exist between them. By cooperating responsibly in such a/this unifying dynamic, Christians will demonstrate to the world that their Master did not suffer in vain for the unity of men."


"Chers Frères et Soeurs, J’accueille avec joie tous les visiteurs et pèlerins de langue française, de France, de Belgique, de Suisse. Parmi les groupes, je salue notamment celui des pèlerins français rassemblés autour du Cardinal Marty et venant des Librairies “La Procure”, et celui des lecteurs de la revue “Prier” qui épanouissent en eux-mêmes et chez les autres le besoin et le dynamisme de la prière; et aussi les groupes de jeunes, de personnes âgées, les pèlerinages paroissiaux.

Aujourd’hui, veille de la solennité du Corps et du Sang du Christ, il est normal d’évoquer le mystère eucharistique, qui est au centre de la vie de l’Eglise Par lui nous est assurée non seulement la présence du Christ, sous le signe de la nourriture, mais l’actualité de son Sacrifice rédempteur, qui a établi une nouvelle alliance entre les hommes et Dieu, et dont nous fêtons spécialement le Jubilé: “Voici mon corps livré pour vous, mon sang versé pour vous”. Oui, chaque fois que la messe est célébrée, le Christ continue d’offrir sa vie au Père, par la médiation du prêtre et de l’Eglise. Il est important que les participants offrent avec lui leurs peines, leurs difficultés, leurs épreuves, s’offrent eux-mêmes. Et alors est présente la victoire de la Croix du Christ, la victoire de l’amour sur la haine, de la sainteté sur le péché; et ses fruits se répandent mystérieusement: le renforcement de la sainteté et de l’unité des disciples, le rayonnement de l’Eglise dans les différents milieux. Il est grand le mystère de la foi! En vous invitant à le contempler et à vous en approcher, je vous donne à tous ma Bénédiction Apostolique.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Tomorrow is the solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the day when the Church invites us to praise Christ present in the world as the Bread of Life and the Cup of Eternal Salvation. In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, we are made one with Christ oar Redeemer and we share in the Sacrifice of the Cross. During this Jubilee Year of the Redemption, let us raise our hearts and voices in praise of our loving Saviour who is always present in the Eucharist.

I welcome all the visitors who are here at the audience today, in particular those from Ireland, England and Wales, from Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, Canada and the United States. In a special way, I welcome the members of the Holy Year Pilgrimage coming from Melbourne and Sydney, and the large group from Indonesia. I am pleased, too, to greet the Lanyang folklore group from the Catholic Youth Center in Taiwan. I wish to extend cordial greetings to the group of canon lawyers from the United States, and to the priests and deacons from the North American College who have completed their studies in Rome and are about to return home to assume pastoral duties in their respective dioceses. May you serve the Lord with strong faith and generous hearts. And may God give you and those whom you serve abiding peace and joy.

Liebe Brüder und Schwestern! Herzlich Freude ich mich über eure Teilnahme an dieser Jubiläumsaudienz. Ich grübe alle genannten Gruppen, besonders i Familien, die Priester und Ordensleute sowie die zahlreichen Jugendlichen. Beste Segenswünsche gelten den Franziskanerinnen von Dillingen zu ihrem Ordensjubiläum. Die ökumenische Jugendgruppe aus Bayern und die anwesenden evangelischen Christen aus Nürnberg und Rothenburg lade ich brüderlich ein, in diesem Jubiläumsjahr der Erlösung mit der katholischen Kirche in einer besonderen Weise für die Einheit aller Christen zu beten.

Das bevorstehende Fronleichnamsfest lenkt heute unsere Betrachtung auf die hl. Eucharistie. Durch die Verwandlung von Brot und. Wein in den Leib. und das Blut Jesu Christi wird sein Erlösungsopfer von Golgota selbst sakramental unter uns gegenwärtig. Die Eucharistie vermittelt uns die Früchte der Erlösung und lädt uns zugleich ein, uns durch unser persönliches Opfer mit Christus in seiner Hingabe an den Vater zu vereinigen. Das eucharistische Opfer und Mahl trägt entscheidend bei zur Auferbauung der Kirche; sie festigt und fördert ihre innere Einheit und die Einheit unter allen Christen. Erweisen wir Christus in der hl. Eucharistie stets unsere tiefe Verehrung und Liebe! Von Herzen erteile ich euch allen meinen besonderen Apostolischen Segen.

Queridos hermanos y hermanas, Mañana es la solemnidad del Corpus Christi que tiene, en este Año Santo, de la Redención, un significado particular. En efecto, la Eucaristía revive de manera actual la Redención, ya que el sacrificio eucarístico repite el sacrificio de Cristo en el calvario. Un sacrificio que continúa siendo ofrecido cada día, para santificar a la Iglesia y para que también nosotros nos ofrezcamos al Padre, poniendo junto a la oblación de Jesús nuestras propias penas, dificultades y sufrimientos. Que esta festividad y el Año Santo que conmemora la Redención, aumente en todos nosotros el amor a la Santísima Eucaristía y la estima por esa admirable presencia de Dios entre nosotros.

Es lo que deseo en primer lugar a los sacerdotes claretianos que asisten a esta Audiencia, y también a los peregrinos procedentes de Guatemala, de Chile y de varias partes de España: de Madrid, Alicante, Granada, de Vizcaya y de otros lugares. Saludo en particular al grupo del “Pueblo de Dios en marcha”. Asimismo a los miembros del Círculo Católico de Obreros de Burgos, a los que aliento a continuar en su empeño de formación y promoción social según las directrices de la Iglesia. A todas y cada una de las personas de lengua española aquí presentes, saludo y bendigo de corazón.

Caríssimos irmãos e irmãs de língua portuguesa, peregrinos do Ano Santo da Redenção, Ao saudar-vos cordialmente, desejo a todos em abundância as graças do Jubileu. Na véspera da festa do “Corpo de Deus”, da solenidade do Corpo e Sangue do Senhor, a nossa atençâo volta-se para a Santíssima Eucaristia, em que a Redenção é revivida, o Sacrifício de Cristo se torna sacrifício da Igreja, produzindo na humanidade de hoje os seus frutos de reconciliação e de salvação.

A Santíssima Eucaristia não é mera recordação do Sacrifício do Calvário; é o mesmo Sacrifício tornado presente, para a ele se associarem os fiéis e a Igreja como comunidade, participando da vitória de Cristo sobre o pecado e sobre o mal que está no mundo, participando na Redenção; e isto, para edificação da mesma Igreja, para o seu crescimento e para a sua unidade, em apelo à unidade de todos os cristãos e mesmo de todos os homens, enquanto é o Sacramento do amor. Ano Santo da Redenção, Jubileu e Eucaristia convergem neste apelo: a comunhão no amor de Deus há-de ser fonte da comunhão fraterna. o que a todos desejo, ao dar-vos a Bênção Apostólica.

“Witaj Jezu, Synu Maryi, Tyś jest Bóg prawdziwy w świętej Hostyi”. Jutro boże ciało. Po ulicach polskich miast, po wiejskich drogach, rozlegną się słowa tej pieśni - i tylu innych pieśni eucharystycznych. Lud Boży, po Mszy świętej, wyruszy w procesji Bożego Ciała, zatrzymując się przy czterech ołtarzach, aby wysłuchać słów Ewangelii związanych z tajemnicą eucharystyczną. Boże Ciało: to święto tak bardzo drogie sercom polskim - dzień, w którym możemy dać publiczny wyraz tej czci i miłości, jaką otaczamy Ciało i Krew Pańską w Sakramencie Ołtarza. “Bądźże pozdrowiona Hostyjo żywa, / w której Jezus Chrystus Bóstwo ukrywa”.

Pani Jasnogórska!
Ty od sześciu stuleci po macierzyńsku przewodniczysz całemu Ludowi Bożemu na ziemi polskiej w tym dorocznym święcie uwielbienia Eucharystii.
Ty dałaś Chrystusowi ludzkie Ciało i Krew - i Ty pierwsza je czcisz jako Sakrament najświętszej Ofiary pod postaciami Chleba i Wina.
O Matko! Spraw, ażeby ten Sakrament - w naszych trudnych czasach - bardziej jeszcze niż kiedykolwiek, był pokarmem moich Rodaków. Aby był dla nich źródłem życia i świętości! Aby był źródłem duchowej mocy!
“Witaj Jezu, Synu Maryi,
Tyś jest Bóg prawdziwy w świętej Hostyi”.