It continues to rain in Rome but that didn’t stop thousands of people from gathering at St. Peter’s Square for the Holy Father’s weekly General Audience.
Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Sacraments, focusing on the Eucharist.
The Eucharist, he said, constitutes the source of “the very life of the Church.” Calling to mind the physical signs of the Eucharist, such as the altar, the Holy Father said they resemble a banquet.
“Word and Bread become altogether one in the Mass, as in the Last Supper, when all Jesus’ words, all the signs he made, were condensed into the gesture of breaking the bread and offering the chalice, anticipation of the sacrifice of the Cross, and in those words: “Take and eat, this is my Body … Take and drink, this is my Blood,” the Pope said.
The Holy Father went on to say that the Last Supper was the gesture of thanksgiving from Christ to God for His love and mercy. Noting the meaning of the Greek word for Eucharist means thanksgiving, the Pope said that it encompasses God’s love for man through Jesus’ Death and Resurrection.
Although all the liturgical signs remind one of a banquet, the Holy Father stressed that it is much more than that: it is “the memorial of Jesus’ Passover, the central mystery of salvation.” Thus, the Eucharist is a focal point to God’s action of salvation, while giving us a foretaste of the heavenly banquet with God.
Concluding his catechesis, Pope Francis invited the faithful to thank God for the gift of the Eucharist. “Let us ask Him then that this Sacrament may continue to keep His presence alive in the Church and mould our communities in charity and communion, according to the heart of the Father.”
Before departing the General Audience, the Holy Father conveyed his solidarity with those suffering the torrential rains in Tuscany and Rome. Both areas have been affected with massive flooding after weeks of rain.
“Let us all pray and we are close to them with our strength, our solidarity and with our love,” he said. (J.A.E.)