Message by His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio on the Feast of Christ the King, Gozo (23 November 2008)


Xewkija, Gozo - 23 November 2008


by His Excellency Mgr Tommaso Caputo

Apostolic Nuncio

It is with great joy in the Lord that I greet the Church in Gozo. I greet you, dear Bishop Mario, dear priests and religious and all the lay faithful of this portion of God’s flock in this dear Island, as your diocese embarks on an event and an experience of great pastoral importance – the Diocesan Mission, or Missjoni Djoċesana.

During this solemn celebration of the feast of Christ the King, it is indeed very fitting to reflect on our responsibility as committed Christians, and how this responsibility is intimately connected to our celebration of the Eucharist.

1.        The Liturgy of this last Sunday of the Year invites us to contemplate Jesus Christ who is our loving Shepherd, our just Judge and our merciful King. These three ways of looking at Christ converge in one fundamental message – the Good News that we are loved by the Lord, and that we are, in turn, called to transmit this love to others. This is the Kingdom – loving others to the point of sacrifice; committing ourselves to serve, especially those who are most in need. This way of life offers a great challenge to each one us. It means being authentic disciples of Christ by manifesting the power of the Gospel through works of mercy. On the day of our judgement, the Lord will recognise us as his disciples on one condition. How? … If we have recognised Him in our brothers and sisters.

2.        It is the Eucharist which gives us the spiritual energy to do this and to be his authentic disciples. We must not be afraid to be true disciples of Jesus! We must not be discouraged when we encounter opposition and difficulties! The sacrament of the Eucharist fills us with the power to love. Receiving the love of God in this sacrament of love – sacramentum caritatis – each one of us becomes a messenger of this love. We become like the disciples of Emmaus. We must recognise the victorious Lord in the breaking of the bread – in fractione panis. I know that this is the episcopal motto of Bishop Mario. And so, this phrase possesses a great significance to the Church in Gozo at this particular moment in its pilgrimage.
In fractione panis. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be always aware of our eucharistic responsibility! Whenever we receive the Eucharist, let us remember that our words and actions must be eucharistic. The text from St Paul which has been proclaimed to us reminds us of this responsibility. Let us strive for unity! Let us do not allow the seeds of division take root among us. Using strong words, St Paul warns the Corinthians against the evil of division: “What am I to say to you? Congratulate you? On this I cannot congratulate you” (1 Cor 11,22). So, my dear brothers, if there are divisions, let us open ourselves to the healing power of the Eucharist.

3.        At the beginning of the fourth century, the martyrs of Abitene professed their faith when they exclaimed with great conviction: “Without the celebration of the Lord’s Day, we cannot live!”. I repeat these words to you: Live and experience the power of the Sunday Eucharist!  Like the disciples of Emmaus, everyday, be apostles of this marvellous spiritual experience when you meet those who have neglected this encounter with the Lord – perhaps, members of your own families, those you meet at your workplace, your own neighbours. Dear young people, do not be shy to express the challenge and the joy of the Eucharist to your friends!

St Paul has reminded us, “Whenever you eat this bread, then, and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11,26). Yes, proclaim the Lord always! Dear members of the Church in Gozo, this is your eucharistic responsibility: Proclaim Christ’s kingdom of love, forgiveness and service!  Amen!