Pope sees 'bread of life' address as a critical turning point in Christ's preaching
August 20, 2012
After the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus made an extra effort to discourage his followers from thinking that He would establish an earthly kingdom, Pope Benedict XVI observed during his Angelus audience on August 19.
Commenting on the day’s reading from the 6th chapter of St. John’s Gospel, the Pope set the words of Christ in context, noting that the Lord was speaking just after that miracle, at a time when large crowds were flocking to him, expecting miracles. Jesus wanted to correct their understanding, and help them to see that his works “were not meant to provoke a triumphal march, but to foretell his sacrifice on the cross, when Jesus himself became the bread shared by the multitude.”
Thus Jesus challenged his listeners by saying that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” That shocking statement was intended, the Pope said, “to disenchant the crowds and especially to push his disciples to make a choice.”
Pope Benedict concluded his meditation on the Gospel by encouraging the faithful to recognize the astonishing truth of Christ’s sacrifice, and “discover once more the beauty of the sacrament of Holy Communion.”
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