Pope Francis reminded the faithful on Sunday, feast of Corpus Christi, that the Eucharist is a memorial that heals a “weak memory” among people.
“Let us never forget, the Mass is the memorial that heals memory, the memory of the heart,” said the pontiff in his homily during the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ in the Vatican.
Through the years, popes have celebrated the feast either in different neighborhoods in and around Rome or at the Basilica of St. John Lateran followed by a one-mile procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
The solemn procession, in which the pope or a priest carried a monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament through the streets, would be lined with thousands of people.
This year, however, the celebration was held inside St. Peter’s Basilica with only about 50 people in attendance. It concluded with a long moment of silent eucharistic adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Pope Francis urged Catholics to “rediscover” the Eucharistic adoration,” which he said “will do us much good, for it heals us within.”
He said it is very important to “remember the good we have received” because if not “we become strangers to ourselves.”
“Without memory, we uproot ourselves from the soil that nourishes us and allows ourselves to be carried away like leaves in the wind,” said the pontiff.
He said memory “unites us to God and to others,” adding that if people remember, “we bind ourselves afresh to the strongest of ties; we feel part of a living history, the living experience of a people.”
The pontiff said that a problem occurs “if the chain of transmission of memories is interrupted.” He said people do not remember if they did not experience it.
Pope Francis said the Eucharist is “God’s memorial,” which “heals our wounded memory,” that is passed over to the people.
“He did not just leave us words, for it is easy to forget what we hear. He did not just leave us the Scriptures, for it is easy to forget what we read. He did not just leave us signs, for we can forget even what we see. He gave us Food, for it is not easy to forget something we have actually tasted,” said the pontiff.
He said the Eucharist “first heals our orphaned memory,” adding that the world is now living at “a time of great orphanage.”
He said people have memories “marked by a lack of affection and bitter disappointments caused by those who should have given them love and instead orphaned their hearts.”
The pope said people want “to go back and change the past” but only God can heal the wounds of an orphaned memory “by placing within our memory a greater love: his own love.”
Pope Francis said that through the Eucharist the “negativity which seeps so often into our hearts” is healed.
“The Lord heals this negative memory, which drags to the surface things that have gone wrong and leaves us with the sorry notion that we are useless, that we only make mistakes, that we are ourselves a mistake,” he said.
He said every time that the faithful receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Mass is a reminder “that we are precious, that we are guests he has invited to his banquet, friends with whom he wants to dine.”
“The Lord knows that evil and sins do not define us; they are diseases, infections. And he comes to heal them with the Eucharist, which contains the antibodies to our negative memory,” the pope said.
“Finally, the Eucharist heals our closed memory,” said Pope Francis, adding that “the wounds we keep inside” made people “fearful and suspicious.”
“We start with being closed and end up cynical and indifferent. Our wounds can lead us to react to others with detachment and arrogance, in the illusion that in this way we can control situations,” he said.
The pontiff said the Lord heals these broken memories by “offering himself to us in the simplicity of bread,”
“[It] also invites us not to waste our lives in chasing the myriad illusions that we think we cannot do without, yet that leaves us empty within,” he said.
“The Eucharist satisfies our hunger for material things and kindles our desire to serve. It raises us from our comfortable and lazy lifestyle and reminds us that we are not only mouths to be fed, but also his hands, to be used to help feed others,” said Pope Francis.