Vatican Information Service - On Sunday, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square in order to pray the Regina Coeli with pilgrims gathered there.
Commenting on Sunday's Gospel reading of the meeting on the road to Emmaus, the Pope recalled how that locality, "which has not been definitively identified, ... in fact represents all places. The road leading there is the road each Christian, indeed all mankind, follows.
The risen Jesus becomes our travelling companion on the roads of our life, to rekindle in our hearts the flame of faith and hope and to break the bread of eternal life."
Dwelling then on the phrase "we had hoped ... " used by one of the disciples of Emmaus, the Pope explained the significance of the use of the past tense: "We had believed, we had followed, we had hoped, ... but now all is over. Even Jesus of Nazareth Who showed Himself so powerful a prophet in deed and word has failed and we have been disillusioned.
"The drama faced by the disciples of Emmaus," the Holy Father added, "appears to mirror the situation of many Christians of our own time. It seems as if the hope of faith has failed. Faith itself is in crisis because of negative experiences that make us feel we have been abandoned by the Lord. But this road to Emmaus along which we are walking can become a path of purification and maturity for our belief in God."
He continued: "Today too we can enter into dialogue with Jesus, listening to His Word. Today too He breaks the bread for us and gives Himself as our bread. And thus the encounter with the risen Christ, which is also possible today, gives us a more profound and authentic faith, tempered so to say by the fire of the events of Easter. A robust faith because it is nourished not by human ideas by the Word of God and His real presence in the Eucharist."
Following the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI recalled that today marks the close of the first World Congress of Divine Mercy. "Go and be witnesses of God's mercy," he told the participants, "the source of hope for each human being and for the world entire."