Saint John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005
Apostolic Letter « Mane nobiscum Domine » §24-28 (trans. © copyright Libreria Editrice Vaticana)
"They set out at once and returned to Jerusalem"
The two disciples of Emmaus, upon recognizing the Lord, “set out immediately” ( Lk 24,33), in order to report what they had seen and heard. Once we have truly met the Risen One by partaking of his body and blood, we cannot keep to ourselves the joy we have experienced. The encounter with Christ, constantly intensified and deepened in the Eucharist, issues in the Church and in every Christian an urgent summons to testimony and evangelization. I wish to emphasize this... based on the words of Saint Paul: “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes” (1 Cor 11,26). The Apostle closely relates meal and proclamation: entering into communion with Christ in the memorial of his Pasch also means sensing the duty to be a missionary of the event made present in that rite.(22) The dismissal at the end of each Mass is a charge given to Christians, inviting them to work for the spread of the Gospel and the imbuing of society with Christian values.
The Eucharist not only provides the interior strength needed for this mission, but is also —in some sense—its plan. For the Eucharist is a mode of being, which passes from Jesus into each Christian, through whose testimony it is meant to spread throughout society and culture. For this to happen, each member of the faithful must assimilate, through personal and communal meditation, the values which the Eucharist expresses... One fundamental element is found in the very meaning of the word “Eucharist”: thanksgiving... This transcendent point of reference, which commits us constantly to give thanks for all that we have and are..., it is also a project of solidarity for all of humanity... The Christian who takes part in the Eucharist learns to become a promotor of communion, peace and solidarity in every situation..., a practical commitment to building a more just and fraternal society..., practical sharing with the poor...: by bending down to wash the feet of his disciples (Jn 13,1), Jesus explains the meaning of the Eucharist unequivocally.