INTROD, Italy, JULY 26, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Priests, with their human weaknesses, become instruments of salvation by putting themselves into the hands of Christ, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope reflected on the priesthood and the multiplication of the loaves today when he prayed the midday Angelus with faithful who gathered in his vacation spot of Les Combes, in northern Italy. The Holy Father will be in the Italian Alps through Wednesday.
During his reflection, he first thanked God for the "joy of these days marked by true relaxation -- despite the little accident about which you know well." The Pontiff fell and broke his right wrist at the beginning of his vacation, on July 17.
He continued: "Today, on this splendid Sunday on which the Lord shows us all the beauty of his creation, the liturgy provides the beginning of Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John as the Gospel passage. Here we have the miracle of the loaves -- when Jesus feeds thousands of persons with only five loaves and two fish; then the other prodigy of the Lord walking on the waters of the stormy lake; and finally the sermon in which he reveals himself as 'the bread of life.'"
Benedict XVI noted how the verb used by the Evangelist for the prayer of thanksgiving with which Christ blesses the loaves, "points directly to the account of the Last Supper, in which, in effect, John does not treat the institution of the Eucharist but rather the washing of the feet. Here the Eucharist is anticipated as the great sign of the bread of life."
He went on to draw another reflection from the passage, applying specifically to priests in this Year for Priests.
He said that priests can identify with the apostles who asked where to find bread for the multitude.
"And," the Pontiff continued, "reading about that anonymous boy who has five loaves and two fish, we too spontaneously say: But what is this for such a multitude? In other words: What am I? How can I, with my limitations, help Jesus in his mission?"
But it is the Lord who gives the answer, Benedict XVI affirmed: "Precisely by putting into his 'holy and venerable' hands the little that they are, priests become instruments of salvation for many, for all!"