GENERAL AUDIENCE 2000 33
1. "The Church on earth, like a pilgrim in a foreign land away from the Lord, sees herself as an exile. She seeks and is concerned about those things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God, where the life of the Church is hidden with Christ in God, until she appears in glory with her Spouse" (Lumen gentium LG 6). These words of the Second Vatican Council describe the journey of the Church, which knows that she has "here no lasting city", but "seeks the city which is to come" (He 13,14), the heavenly Jerusalem, "the city of the living God" (ibid., He 12,22).
2. When we reach that final destination of history, as St Paul tells us, we will no longer "see in a mirror dimly, but face to face.... then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood" (1Co 13,12). And John tells us again that "when [God] appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1Jn 3,2).
Beyond the frontiers of history, then, the full, shining epiphany of the Trinity awaits us. In the new creation God will give us the intimate, perfect communion with him that the fourth Gospel calls "eternal life", the source of a "knowledge" which in biblical language is precisely a communion of love: "This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (Jn 17,3).
3. Christ's Resurrection opens this horizon of light, which the First Testament had already extolled as a kingdom of peace and joy, in which "the Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces" (Is 25,8). Then, at last, "kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss" (Ps 85,11). But it is especially the last pages of the Bible, that is, the final glorious vision of Revelation, which reveal to us the city that is the ultimate goal of our pilgrimage, the heavenly Jerusalem.
First of all we will meet the Father, "the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end" of all creation (Ap 21,6). He will be fully manifest as Emmanuel, the God who dwells with humanity, wiping away tears and mourning, and making all things new (cf. Ap 21,3-5). But the Lamb, Christ, to whom the Church is joined in marriage, will also rise up in the midst of the city. From him she will receive the light of glory; with him she will no longer be intimately joined through a temple but in a direct and total way (cf. Ap 21,9 Ap 21,22 Ap 21,23). The Holy Spirit spurs us towards that city. It is he who sustains the loving dialogue between the elect and Christ: "The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come'" (Ap 22,17).
4. Our gaze turns to this full manifestation of the Trinity's glory, looking beyond the limits of our human condition, beyond the weight of misery and guilt that pervade our human existence. For this meeting we pray each day for the grace of continual purification, knowing that "nothing unclean shall enter" the heavenly Jerusalem, "nor anyone who practises falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Ap 21,27). As the Second Vatican Council teaches, the liturgy we celebrate in the course of our days is a "taste" as it were of that light, of that contemplation, of that perfect love: "In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem towards which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle" (Sacrosanctum Concilium SC 8).
Therefore, we already turn to Christ so that through the Holy Spirit he will help us to stand pure before the Father. This is what Simeon Metaphrastes asks us to do in a prayer which the liturgy of the Eastern Churches offers the faithful: "You, who by the descent of the Consoler Spirit made your holy disciples vessels of honour, make me a worthy dwelling for his coming. You, who will come again to judge the world in justice, allow me also to come before you, my Judge and my Creator, with all your saints, to praise you and sing to you eternally, with your eternal Father and with your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and forever" (Communion Prayer).
35 God has promised us a new heaven and a new earth
5. Together with us, "the whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God.... not without hope, because the world itself will be freed from its slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Rm 8,19-21). The Book of Revelation proclaims "a new heaven and a new earth", because the first heaven and the first earth will pass away (cf. Ap 21,1). And in his Second Letter, Peter uses traditional apocalyptic images to stress the same idea: "The heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2P 3,12-13).
In expectation of this harmony and full praise, all creation must now sing with mankind a song of joy and hope. Let us do so as well in the words of a third-century hymn discovered in Egypt: "Together let none of God's marvellous creatures keep silent either morning or evening! Let none of the shining stars or the high mountains or the depths of the seas or the springs of the swift rivers keep silent as we sing our hymns to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let all the angels of heaven respond: Amen! Amen! Amen!" (text published by A. Gastoné in La Tribune de saint Gervais, September-October 1922).
The Holy Father appealed for an end to the violence against Christians in the Moluccas and India.
Unfortunately, the wave of ethnic-religious disorders that has been sweeping Indonesia's Molucca Islands since January 1999 shows no sign of abating. The repeated armed, lethal attacks of Muslim extremists on Christian villages are claiming many victims and causing endless ruin.
Equally worrying news is coming from India where multiple acts of aggression have recently been committed against Christian communities and other minorities, "the worst", the Bishops say, "since the country's independence".
I renew my heartfelt appeal for an end to these brutal acts of violence. I dare to hope that those who carry out and instigate such acts will understand that one cannot kill and destroy in the name of religion, or manipulate religion for one's own interests. I ask the authorities to take firm measures to improve the situation; I also ask everyone to put aside hatred and to work tirelessly to restore religious harmony with mutual respect and love. I invite those of you present here to pray with faith for these intentions.
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I extend a warm greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially the groups from Ireland, Malta, Indonesia, Korea and the United States. I welcome the Laudate Dominum Choir from Norway, and the Nichiren-shu group from Japan. Upon everyone present I invoke the abundant gifts of Almighty God.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. In his Letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul quotes, not without surprise, a prophecy from the Book of Isaiah (cf. Is 65,1), in which God says through the mouth of the prophet: "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me" (Rm 10,20) Well then, after having reflected in our preceding catecheses on the glory of the Trinity manifested in the cosmos and in history, now we want to begin an inward journey, exploring the mysterious ways in which God comes to meet man in order to share his life and glory with him. For God loves the creature formed in his image and likeness and, like the caring shepherd in the parable we have just heard (cf. Lc 15,4-7), he never tires of searching for him, even when he appears indifferent or even hostile to the divine life, like the sheep which wanders from the flock and is lost in inaccessible and dangerous places.
2. Pursued by God, man already senses his presence, already basks in the light on his shoulders and already hearkens to the voice calling him from afar. And so he himself begins to search for the God who is searching for him: sought out, he begins to seek; loved, he begins to love. Today we will start to trace this stirring interaction between God's initiative and man's reponse, discovering it as a fundamental element of religious experience. In fact, an echo of this experience is also heard in some voices far removed from Christianity, a sign of the universal human desire to know God and to receive his kindness. Even an enemy of the biblical Israel, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, who had destroyed the holy city, Jerusalem, in 587-586 B.C., addressed the Godhead in these words: "Without you, Lord, what would be the king whom you love and have called by name? How could he be good in your eyes? You guide his name, you lead him by the right path! ... By your grace, O Lord, which you richly share with everyone, your sublime majesty becomes mercy and you make the fear of your divinity dwell in my heart. Give me what is good for you, since you have formed my life!" (cf. G. Pettinato, Babilonia, Milan 1994, p. 182).
3. Our Muslim brethren also express a simliar belief by often repeating throughout their day the prayer that opens the Koran and precisely celebrates the way in which God, "the Lord of Creation, the Compassionate, the Merciful", guides those upon whom he pours out his grace.
The great biblical tradition especially prompts the faithful to call often upon God to receive the necessary light and strength from him to do good. Thus the Psalmist prays in Psalm 119: "Instruct me, O Lord, in the way of your statutes, that I may exactly observe them. Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart. Lead me in the path of your commands, for in it I delight.... Turn away my eyes from seeing what is vain; by your way give me life" (vv. Ps 119,33-35 Ps 119,37).
4. In universal religious experience, especially in what is transmitted by the Bible, we thus find an awareness of God's primacy as he searches for man in order to lead him into the realm of his light and mystery. In the beginning there is the Word, which breaks through the silence of the void, the "favour" of God (Lc 2,14), who never abandons those he has created to themselves.
Certainly, this absolute beginning does not eliminate the need for human action or the human obligation to respond; man is called to let himself be touched by God and to open his life's door to him, but he also has the ability to turn down these invitations. In this regard, the Book of Revelation puts amazing words on Christ's lips: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me" (Ap 3,20). If Christ were not to travel the world's roads, we would be left alone within our narrow horizons. Still, we must open the door to him, so that we can have him at our table in a communion of life and love.
5. The journey of God's encounter with man will unfold under the banner of love. On the one hand, divine Trinitarian love goes before us, surrounds us and constantly opens the way for us to the Father's house. There the Father is waiting to embrace us, as in the Gospel parable of the "prodigal son", or better of the "merciful Father" (cf. Lc 15,11-32). On the other hand, fraternal love is asked of us as a response to God's love: "Beloved", John admonishes us in his First Letter, "if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.... God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1Jn 4,11 1Jn 4,16). Salvation, life and eternal joy blossom from the embrace of divine love and human love.
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I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Tanzania, Indonesia, Japan, Canada and the United States of America. With special affection, I greet the priests from the Logos Pastoral Centre in Rome and the Sisters of the Resurrection. Upon all of you I invoke the peace and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. "O that you would rend the heavens and come down!". Isaiah's great cry (Is 63,19), which well summarizes the longing for God present especially in the history of the biblical Israel, but also in every human heart, was not in vain. God the Father crossed the threshold of his transcendence: through his Son, Jesus Christ, he set out on the paths of man, and his Spirit of life and love penetrated the hearts of his creatures. He does not leave us wandering far from his ways, nor does he let our hearts be hardened forever (cf. Is 63,17). In Christ, God draws near to us, particularly when our "face is sad", and then with the warmth of his word, as happened to the disciples at Emmaus, our hearts begin to burn within us (cf. Lc 24,17 Lc 24,32). God's passage, though, is mysterious and requires pure eyes and attentive ears to be perceived.
2. In this perspective, we want to focus today on two fundamental attitudes to be adopted towards the God-Emmanuel who decided to meet man both in space and time, and in the depths of his heart. The first attitude is that of waiting, well illustrated in the passage of Mark's Gospel that we heard earlier (cf. Mc 13,33-37). In the original Greek we find three imperatives that mark this waiting. The first is: "Take heed", literally, "Look out, be careful!". "Attention", as the word itself says, means to tend, to be directed towards something with all one's soul. It is the opposite of distraction, which, unfortunately, is almost our habitual state, especially in a frenetic, superficial society such as ours today. We find it difficult to focus on a goal, on a value, and to pursue it with fidelity and consistency. We risk doing so even with God, who came to us through his Incarnation to become the lodestar of our lives.
3. The imperative to take heed is followed by "be alert", which in the Gospel's original Greek is the same as "stay awake". There is a strong temptation for us to fall asleep, wound in the coils of the dark night, which in the Bible is the symbol of guilt, inertia and rejection of the light. Thus we can understand the Apostle Paul's exhortation: "You are not in darkness, brethren, ... for you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober" (1Th 5,4-6). Only by freeing ourselves from the obscure attraction of darkness and evil can we meet the Father of lights, in whom "there is no variation or shadow due to change" (Jc 1,17).
4. There is a third imperative expressed twice with the same Greek verb: "Watch!". It is the verb for the sentinel who must be on guard, while he waits patiently for night-time to pass in order to see the light of dawn breaking on the horizon. The prophet Isaiah vividly and forcefully describes this long wait by introducing a dialogue between two sentinels, which becomes a symbol for the right use of time: "Watchman, how much longer the night?". The watchman replies, "Morning has come, and again night. If you will ask, ask; come back again'" (Is 21,11-12).
We must question ourselves, be converted and go to meet the Lord. Christ's three appeals: "Take heed, stay awake, watch!", limpidly sum up the Christian watchfulness for meeting the Lord. The waiting must be patient, as St James urges us in his Letter: "Be patient until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer awaits the precious yield of the soil. He looks forward to it patiently while the soil receives the winter and the spring rains. You, too, be patient. Steady your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is at hand" (Jc 5,7-8). If an ear is to grow or a flower blossom, there are times which cannot be forced; for the birth of a human being, nine months are required; to write a book or a worthy piece of music, years must often be spent in patient searching. This is also the law of the spirit. "Everything that is rushed / will soon fade", a poet wrote (R. M. Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus). To encounter the mystery takes patience, inner purification, silence and waiting.
5. We were speaking earlier of the two spiritual attitudes for discovering the God who approaches us. The second - after attentive and watchful waiting - is wonder, marvel. We must open our eyes to admire God, who both conceals and reveals himself in things, and leads us into the realms of mystery. Technological culture, and even more the excessive absorption in material realities, often prevent us from discerning the hidden face of things. In reality, every thing, every event, for those who know how to read them in depth, bears a message which, in the final analysis, leads to God. Thus there are many signs that reveal God's presence. But if they are not to escape us, we must be as pure and simple as children (cf. Mt 18,3-4), who can admire, wonder at, be astonished and enchanted by God's acts of love and closeness in our regard. In a certain sense, we can apply to the fabric of daily life what the Second Vatican Council said about the fulfilment of God's great plan through the revelation of his Word: "The invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into fellowship with him" (Dei Verbum DV 2).
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I warmly greet the many English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this audience. Upon all of you – from England, Nigeria, the West Indies, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada and the United States – I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I extend a special welcome to the visitors from Sendai and Kagoshima in Japan. May God bless you and your families, and all your fellow-citizens.
Romae Yôkoso domo arigatóo Gozaimasu. [“Thank your for your visit”].
1. "How greatly to be desired are all his works, and how sparkling they are to see!... Though we speak much we cannot reach the end, and the sum of our words is: "He is the all'.... He is greater than all his works" (Si 42,22 Si 43,27-28). These wonderful words of Sirach sum up the hymn of praise, sung in every age and under every sky, to the Creator who reveals himself through the immensity and splendour of his works.
Although in still imperfect ways, many voices have recognized in creation the presence of its Author and Lord. An ancient Egyptian king and poet, addressing his sun god, exclaimed: "How manifold it is, what thou hast made! They are hidden from the face (of man). O sole god, like whom there is no other! Thou didst create the world according to thy desire, whilst thou wert alone" ("The Hymn to Aton", in J. B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 3rd ed. [Princeton 1969], pp. 369-371).
A few centuries later, a Greek philosopher also celebrated in a marvellous hymn the divinity manifest in nature and especially in man: "We are your offspring, and we have speech as a reflection of your mind, we alone of all the animate beings who live and move on the earth" (Cleanthes, Hymn to Zeus, vv. 4-5). The Apostle Paul would take up this acclamation, citing it in his discourse at the Areopagus of Athens (cf. Ac 17,28).
2. The Muslim believer is also required to hear the word that the Creator has entrusted to the works of his hands: "O men, adore your Lord, who has created you and those who have gone before you: fear him who has made the earth a bed for you and the sky a dome, and has sent down water from the sky to bring forth fruits for your sustenance" (Koran, II, 21-23). The Jewish tradition which flourished in the fertile soil of the Bible, would discover God's personal presence in every corner of creation: "Where I wander - You! Where I ponder - You! Only You, You again, always You! ... Sky is You! Earth is You! You alone! You below! In every trend, at every end, only You, You again, always You!" (M. Buber, Tales of the Hasidim [Italian ed., Milan 1979, p. 276]).
3. Biblical revelation is set within this broad experience of religious awareness and human prayer, putting the divine seal upon it. In communicating the mystery of the Trinity to us, it helps us perceive in creation itself not only the marks of the Father, source of all life, but also those of the Son and the Spirit. The Christian's gaze now turns to the whole Trinity when he contemplates the heavens with the Psalmist: "By the word of the Lord" - that is, by his eternal Word - "the heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth" - that is, by his Holy Spirit - "all their host" (Ps 33,6). Thus "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge. Not a word nor a discourse whose voice is not heard; through all the earth their voice resounds, and to the ends of the world, their message" (Ps 19,2-5).
The ear of the heart must be free of noise in order to hear this divine voice echoing in the universe. Along with revelation properly so-called, contained in Sacred Scripture, there is a divine manifestation in the blaze of the sun and the fall of night. Nature too, in a certain sense, is "the book of God".
4. We can ask ourselves how it is possible in Christian experience for contemplation of the Trinity to be fostered through creation, discerning there not only the reflection of the one God in a generic sense, but also the marks of the individual divine persons. If it is true, in fact, that "the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of creation but one principle" (Council of Florence, DS 1331), it is also true as well that "each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CEC 258).
So when we contemplate with wonder the universe in its grandeur and beauty, we must praise the whole Trinity, but in a special way our thoughts turn to the Father from whom everything flows, as the source and fullness of being itself. If we then reflect on the order that governs the cosmos and admire the wisdom with which the Father created it, endowing it with laws that regulate its existence, we naturally think of the eternal Son, presented to us by Scripture as the Word (cf. Jn 1,1-3) and divine Wisdom (cf. 1Co 1,24 1Co 1,30). In the marvellous hymn sung by Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs, which was presented at the start of our meeting, she says: "Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning" (Pr 8,23). Wisdom is present at the moment of creation "like a master workman" (Pr 8,30), ready to delight "in the sons of men" (cf. Pr 8,30-31). From these aspects Christian tradition has seen in Wisdom the face of Christ, "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; ... all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col 1,15-17 cf. Jn 1,3).
5. In the light of the Christian faith, creation particularly calls to mind the Holy Spirit in the dynamism that marks the relations between things, within the macrocosm and the microcosm, and is apparent especially wherever life is born and develops. Because of this experience, even in cultures far removed from Christianity, the presence of God is perceived in a way as the "spirit" which gives life to the world. Vergil's words are famous in this regard: "spiritus intus alit", "the spirit nourishes from within" (Aeneid, VI, 726).
The Christian knows well that this reference to the Spirit would be unacceptable if it meant a sort of "anima mundi" taken in a pantheistic sense. However, while excluding this error, it remains true that every form of life, activity and love refers in the last analysis to that Spirit who, as Genesis tells us, "was moving over the face of the waters" (Gn 1,2) at the dawn of creation and in which Christians, in the light of the New Testament, see a reference to the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. Indeed, the biblical concept of creation "includes not only the call to existence of the very being of the cosmos, that is to say the giving of existence, but also the presence of the Spirit of God in creation, that is to say the beginning of God's salvific self-communication to the things he creates. This is true first of all concerning man, who has been created in the image and likeness of God" (Dominum et Vivificantem DEV 12).
Before the unfolding of cosmic revelation, we proclaim God's work in the words of the Psalmist: "When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth" (Ps 104,30).
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I extend a special welcome to the Ecumenical Jubilee pilgrimage from the Diocese of Portsmouth, and to the large group of pilgrims from Hong Kong. Upon all the English-speaking visitors, especially from England, from Gozo in Malta and from the United States of America, I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.
1. In our previous reflections we have followed humanity in its encounter with God who created it and walks on its paths to seek it out. Today we will meditate on the supreme encounter between God and man which took place in Jesus Christ, the divine Word who became flesh and dwelt among us (cf. Jn 1,14). The definitive revelation of God - as St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, observed in the second century - was accomplished "when the Word became man, making himself like man and man like him, so that man might become precious to God through his likeness to the Son" (Adversus Haereses V, 16, 2). This intimate embrace of divinity and humanity, which St Bernard compares to the "kiss" mentioned in the Song of Songs (cf. Sermones super Cantica canticorum II), expands from the person of Christ to those he touches. This encounter of love has various dimensions which we will now try to illustrate.
2. It is an encounter that takes place in everyday life, in time and in space. The passage of John's Gospel which was just read (cf. Jn 1,35-42) is descriptive in this regard. There we find a precise chronological indication of the day and time, locality and house where Jesus was staying. There are people who lead a simple life and are transformed, even in name, through that meeting. In fact, to have Christ enter one's life means to see one's history and projects disrupted. When those fishermen of Galilee found Jesus at the lakeside and heard his call, "they left everything and followed him" (Lc 5,11). This is a radical turning-point which allows no hesitation and sets one on a path fraught with difficulties but very liberating: "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt 16,24).
3. When he crosses a person's life, Christ disquiets his conscience and reads his heart, as happened with the Samaritan woman when he told her "all that she ever did" (cf. Jn 4,29). Above all, he moves her to repentance and love, as occured with Zacchaeus, who gives half of his goods to the poor and restores fourfold to anyone he may have defrauded (cf. Lc 19,8). This is also what happened with the repentant woman sinner whose sins were forgiven "because she loved much" (Lc 7,47), and with the adulteress who is not judged but urged to lead a new and sinless life (cf. Jn 8,11). The encounter with Jesus is like a rebirth: it brings forth the new creature who is capable of true adoration, which consists in worshiping the Father "in spirit and truth" (Jn 4,23-24).
4. Encountering Christ on one's path through life often means finding physical healing. Jesus would entrust to his disciples themselves the mission of proclaiming God's kingdom, conversion and the forgiveness of sins (cf. Lc 24,47), and also of healing the sick, delivering people from every evil, giving comfort and support. For the disciples "preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them" (Mc 6,12-13). Christ came to seek, meet and save the whole person. As a condition of salvation, Jesus demands faith, by which a person abandons himself totally to God who acts in him. Indeed, Jesus said to the woman with a hemorrhage who had touched his garment as her last hope: "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease" (Mc 5,34).
40 5. The purpose of Christ's coming among us is to lead us to the Father. For "no one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known" (Jn 1,18). This historical revelation accomplished by Jesus in his words and deeds touches us deeply, through the Father's interior action (cf. Mt 16,17 Jn 6,44-45) and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 14,26 Jn 16,13). For this reason, the risen Jesus pours him forth as the principle of the forgiveness of sins (cf. Jn 20,22-23) and the source of divine love within us (cf. Rm 5,5). Thus we have a Trinitarian communion which already begins in earthly life and whose final goal is the fullness of vision, when "we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1Jn 3,2).
6. Now Christ continues to walk beside us on the paths of history, as he promised: "Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28,20). He is present through his Word, "a Word who calls, who invites, who personally summons, as happened to the Apostles. When a person is touched by the Word obedience is born, that is, the listening which changes life. Every day (the believer) is nourished by the bread of the Word. Deprived of it, he is as though dead and has nothing left to communicate to his brothers and sisters, because the Word is Christ (Orientale lumen, n. 10).
Christ is also present in the Eucharist, the source of love, unity and salvation. The words he spoke one day at the synagogue in the little town of Capernaum on Lake Tiberias echo constantly in our churches. They are words of hope and life: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him ... he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (Jn 6,54 Jn 6,56).
The Holy Father again asked the faithful to pray for an end to the violence in the Moluccas and deplored the recent attacks in Moscow and Spain:
Once again I feel it necessary to ask you to pray for an end to the violence that is convulsing the Molucca Islands in Indonesia.
As we entrust to God's mercy the numerous victims of that tragedy, we wish to express our deep spiritual closeness to all who are suffering from the death of their loved ones, the loss of the necessities of life and the destruction of their places of worship. Many of them have been forced to leave the land where they lived and have a right to live in dignity and security.
With faith let us implore the Lord that order be restored, the harmony of the past be re-established and Christians and Muslims be able to live together in peace.
May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of the suffering, support our prayers with her powerful intercession.
The Holy Father went on to deplore the bomb explosion in Moscow and the continuing violence in Spain.
Yesterday in Moscow, in an underpass near the Kremlin, a bomb exploded during rush hour, causing many deaths and injuries. I cannot help express how deeply I deplore this grave attack, as I offer the assurance of my solidarity accompanied by my prayer.
I would like to extend the same sentiments to the victims of the attacks which, unfortunately, are still occurring in Spain.
I ardently hope that every form of violence, which sows grief and pain, will come to an end and that minds will turn to thoughts of understanding and peaceful coexistence.
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I extend a special greeting to the young Benedictine monks gathered for the Congressus Iuniorum of their Order. Dear Brothers, I encourage you to be convincing witnesses to other young people of the great Christian ideals contained in the Rule of Saint Benedict. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada and the United States of America, I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.
GENERAL AUDIENCE 2000 33