On the dot of twelve midday Pope Benedict XVI greeted the many faithful in the courtyard of the Papal Summer residence at Castelgandolfo in the Roman Hills. Before reciting the Marian prayer, the Holy Father took time to reflect on Sunday’s Gospel featuring the speech made by Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum.
Setting the scene, the Holy Father explained that the previous day Jesus had fed thousands of people with just five loaves and two fishes . At Capernaum, said the Pope, Jesus reveals the meaning of this miracle, namely, that the time for promises is fulfilled.
“In the Gospel of today’s liturgy, Jesus presents himself as the living bread come down from heaven. May we always hunger for the gift of his presence in the Eucharistic sacrifice, wherein Jesus gives us his very self as food and drink to sustain us on our pilgrim journey to the Father.”
Pope Benedict described the pronouncement of Jesus being the bread of life, as being a critical moment and a turning point in his public mission.
Jesus, said the Holy Father explains himself the image of the bread saying, that he was sent to offer his own life, and those who want to follow him are asked to join him in a deep and personal way, participating in his sacrifice of love.
The Pope went on to say that this is why Jesus will go on to establish the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.
Listening to this speech at Capernaum, said Pope Benedict the crowd understood that Jesus was not a Messiah who aspired to an earthly throne. Jesus was hinting at the sacrifice of the Cross, in which he would become the Bread broken for the masses.
Concluding his address the Pope expressed the hope that people would once again be amazed by the words of Christ and rediscover the beauty of the Eucharist.
Following the Angelus prayer the Pope sent greetings in Polish to His Holiness Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow who is in Poland as a guest of the Orthodox Church there.
The program of the visit also includes meetings with Catholic bishops and the common declaration of desire to grow the fraternal union and to collaborate in spreading the Gospel values in the contemporary world, in the spirit of faith in Christ Jesus
The Holy Father said this was “an important event, which raises hope for the future”.