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Apr. 20, 2018

Pope: without the Eucharist, every effort of the Church is vain


Pope Francis celebrates Mass during his pastoral visit to Molfetta, Italy, April 20. (Daniel Ibáñez/CNA)

During day-trip Mass, Francis reminds faithful: ‘It’s beautiful to be couriers of hope, simple and joyful distributors of the Easter alleluia.’

Elise Harris/CNA/EWTN News

VATICAN CITY — During a brief day trip to two small Italian cities, Pope Francis stressed the centrality of the Eucharist in the life and actions of the Church, saying without Christ’s love and self-sacrifice, everything would be done in vanity, since everything Jesus did was for others.

“The Eucharist is not a beautiful rite, but it is the most intimate, the most concrete, the most surprising communion that one can imagine with God: a communion of love so real that it takes on the form of eating,” the Pope said April 20.

The Christian life begins again at each Mass, “where God satiates us with love. Without him, the Bread of Life, every effort of the Church is vain,” he said, and, quoting deceased local Bishop Tonino Bello, he said that “works of charity are not enough, unless those works are done with charity.”

“If love is lacking in those who do the works, if the source is lacking, if the point of departure is lacking, which is the Eucharist, then every pastoral commitment is merely a whirlwind of things,” rather than an act of service.

Pope Francis spoke during Mass in the Italian town of Molfetta. He traveled to the city after making a brief visit to Alessano as part of a half-day trip to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of Bishop Antonio Bello, known as “Don Tonino,” an Italian bishop whose cause for beatification opened in 2007.

In his homily, Francis said whoever receives the Eucharist takes on the face and mentality of the Lord, who is the Bread that was broken for us. And this Bread, he said, does not “rise with pride,” but is given to others.

People who receive the Eucharist, he said, “cease to live for themselves, for their own success, to have something or to become someone, but they live for Jesus, as Jesus, which is for others.”

Quoting Bishop Bello, Francis said the Eucharist “does not support a sedentary life,” and that, without rising from the table, one remains an “unfulfilled sacrament.” He asked those present to question themselves as to how they leave every Mass and whether or not they go out as “people of communion.”