ROME, JUNE 16, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Eucharist is the “bread from heaven,” in which God gives himself to men as food, said Benedict XVI on the feast of Corpus Christi.
The Holy Father, continuing a tradition that John Paul II reinstated in 1979, celebrated the Mass of the feast of Corpus Christi on Thursday at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and led the Eucharistic procession along Via Merulana to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
“The Host is the manna with which the Lord nourishes us, it is truly the bread from heaven, with which he really gives himself,” Benedict XVI said during the homily.
In the homily the Pope meditated on the symbolism of the bread, the “white Host,” the “bread of the poor,” “the simplest form of bread and food, made simply with some flour and water,” “synthesis of creation,” because in the Host “heaven and earth are united, as well as man’s activity and spirit.”
The meditation ended with a prayer raised by the Holy Father to the Eucharistic Christ: “Guide us on the paths of our history! Show anew the just path to the Church and her shepherds!”
The Pontiff added: “Look at suffering humanity, which wanders uncertain amid so many questions; look at the physical and psychic hunger that torments it!
“Give men bread for the body and soul! Give them work! Give them light! Give them yourself! Purify us and sanctify us all!
“Make us understand that only through participation in your Passion, through the ‘yes’ of the cross, of denial, of the purifications that you impose on us, our lives can mature and reach their authentic fulfillment.”
Benedict XVI added: “Gather us from all the ends of the earth. Unite your Church, unite wounded humanity! Give us your salvation! Amen!”
The Eucharistic procession took place by candlelight after Mass.
The procession, the Pope said, is a sign with which believers express that they follow Christ with their lives.
The Holy Father boarded a small white vehicle to kneel in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, which was exposed in a large monstrance.