Lighting Advent’s First Candle in the National Theatre

02 December 2017

The speech of Card. Péter Erdő
Advent begins. The time of the coming of the Lord reminds us to various kinds of waitings. We recall, that humankind, and especially the Chosen People awaited the Messiah's coming for long centuries. On the other hand we remind us that we also live in the state of waiting for Christ, because in the end of time he will come again to fulfil the human history: that is to be judge over the world and also bring the new heaven and earth. The third waiting, that is holy time reminds us of, refers to the end of our own lives, when we meet the merciful and just God in our own personal judgements.

But we also meet him her, on Earth in a special way: in the Holy Scriptures, in the community of the Church, and - in the most magnificent way - in the Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist means celebrating the Mass, and also the Holy Communion, where the real body of Christ nurtures us, but it also means the kept Eucharist as well, which we engirdle with reverence, love and adoration.

Now, when we prepare for the next International Eucharistic Congress, we shall recognize the special feeling that during this event a big opportunity for meeting opens up between the participants and the sacramental Jesus.

We know very well, that the beginning and the founding of the Eucharist was the Last Supper itself. So, our reverence and celebration surround firstly the Holy Mass itself, the holy liturgy, the most holy act, which we can carry out here, on Earth. Still, it is very conspicuous that in our age there is an enormous desire and interest for adoration. And this has very deep roots. We believe and confess that Christ's real body and blood is enduringly present while celebrating the Mass. We believe and confess, that from our part Christ deserves only love and adoration. But even we, today's men feel that his adoration means a true and direct meeting.

In these days there is a growing interest among the Christians for the historical Jesus, we even might say, for the person, the circumstances, the deeds and the whole work of the historical Christ. Pope Benedict XVI himself wrote a book about the Jesus of Nazareth. In this, he emphasises that all we can discover by using the tools of the history about Jesus, that all gives a strong foundation of the forming faith within his disciples. The historical Jesus cannot be detached from the Jesus of faith. On top of this, the latest researches speak about the historical Christ, since even the historical recognition leads us to the messianic character of the person of Jesus. But of course, the faith remains necessary, that faith, which has a substance, asks for trust, but is also a human decision and the gift of God at the same time. Those, who have the proper knowledge, and do the necessary studies, they can walk together the path of historical recognition, which leads to the Church of the ancient times and the person of Christ.

But millions and billions of people never get into the situation, when they can study even the results of these researches, and through them strengthen their faith again and again within the community of the Church. But throughout the history Christ always gives his experiential vicinity to those, who approach him with faith and trust. With the adoration there is also a shorter way for accepting the faith of the Church and for the personal, loving and intense relationship with Christ.

Those, who have experienced these encounters, to whom God has responded in special events, with small miracles that amaze that particular man, those can justly feel that they have already found the way. Because Christ is near us in every generation. When we are very weak, when the Church feels like in the age of St. Paul, the Apostle, that is he is far from the worldly dignity and the heights of erudition, then Christ will show us great miracles, then will the power and wisdom of God be visible in the weakness.

We prepare for the International Eucharistic Congress in this historical field, we pray to the sacramental Jesus with this seriousness for ourselves, for our Church and the whole world. We shall begin the time of Advent with this spirit.

Photo: Tamás Thaler
Said during the meeting of the Mission Envoys of the IEC, on 2nd December 2017