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Stones and bread

· In Ancona the Pope concludes the Italian National Eucharistic Congress putting people on guard against a model of development that is not centred on the human being ·

A model of social organization that aims solely at material well-being, leaving out God and his revelation in Christ, ends by “giving human beings stones instead of bread”.

Benedict XVI uses an eloquent Gospel image to recall that ideological and political systems based solely on the “forces of power and of the economy” have not passed the scrutiny of history. “Man”, he cautioned at the Mass on  Sunday  morning, 11 September in Ancona, for the conclusion of the 25th National Eucharistic Congress, “understands himself only by starting from God”. It is the relationship with God that gives “our humanity consistence” and “makes our life good and just”.

In this regard the Eucharist is the starting point  for us “to recover and to reaffirm the primacy of God”.

The Pope forcefully reaffirmed when he stressed that Eucharistic spirituality is the “true antidote” to individualism and selfishness because “it leads to the rediscovery of giving freely”, and to the “centrality of relationships”  in human life. Since the Eucharist “sustains and transforms the whole of daily life”, the Pope assured us, it can promote the birth of a “positive social development  which is centred on the person, especially when he is poor, sick or in need”. Anyone “who can kneel before the Eucharist, who receives the Body of the Lord, cannot but be attentive in the ordinary daily routine to situations unworthy of the human being; anyone who can bend over the needy in the first person, who can break his own bread with the hungry and share water with the thirsty, who can clothe the naked and visit the sick person and the prisoner”.

Further, the Pontiff relaunched the centrality of Eucharistic spirituality as a way “to restore dignity to the days of human beings, hence to their work, in the quest for its reconciliation with the times of celebration and of the family, and in the commitment to overcome the uncertainty of precarious situations and the problem of unemployment”.

He made an explicit reference to the difficult situation of society and employment in the region which the Pope had the opportunity to experience from close at hand at the lunch after Mass. At his table in fact were 20 representatives of the people worst hit by the crisis that has crippled the economy of the Marches: redundancy payment, precarious situations, the unemployed, the poor. And Benedict XVI confirmed to them: “I am familiar with your problems, I am close to you. The whole Church is close to you”.

The Pontiff also mentioned this subject in the afternoon when, after his meeting with priests and married couples in the Cathedral of St Cyriacus,  he answered the questions of engaged couples gathered in Piazza del Plebiscito.

Using the image of the laden table at the Wedding of Cana, the Pope pointed out that among young people “the wine of the feast” is often in short supply. And he noted that: “Above all the difficulty of finding a steady job veils the future with uncertainty”.

This, he emphasized, is a condition that “contributes to the procrastination of definitive decisions and has a negative influence on the growth of society, which fails to fully appreciate the wealth of energy, competence and creativity” of young people. Hence the appeal to “pursue a high ideal of love”, making room for Christ, who brings “the wine of the feast” to every person's  life.

Solemn Eucharistic celebration for the conclusion of the 25th Italian National Eucharistic Congress

The Angelus

The Holy Father meets with families and priests in the Cathedral of St Cyriacus

The Pope to engaged couples in Piazza del Plebiscito

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 17, 2019

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