Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father's catechesis in today's general audience focused on “the Eucharist, heart of Christian initiation and source of the life of the Church”. “The Word and the Bread, during Mass, become one, like in the Last Supper, when all Jesus' words, all the signs he had made, were condensed into the gesture of breaking bread and offering the chalice in anticipation of the sacrifice of the Cross”.
Pope Francis remarked that Jesus' gesture during the Last Supper is “the extreme giving of thanks to the Father for His love and for His mercy”, and recalled that “thanksgiving”, in Greek, is “eucaristia”. This is why the term Eucharist encompasses all of this gesture, which is the gesture of God and man, a gesture of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man”.
The Pope repeated that each time we celebrate this Sacrament, it does not simply mean remembering, but rather sharing in “the mystery of Christ's passion, death and resurrection”. “The Eucharist”, he said, “is the peak of the action of God's salvation: the Lord Jesus, making himself into bread, broken for us, indeed pours over us all His mercy and His love, thereby renewing our hearts, our existence and our way of relating with Him and with our brothers”.
Pope Francis concluded by inviting those present to pray to the Lord so that “this Sacrament may continue to keep its presence alive, within the Church, and to model our communities in charity and communion, in accordance with the heart of the Father. And this continues all through our lives, although it begins on the day our our first Communion. It is important that children prepare well for their first Communion and that every child does so, as it is the first step to this strong bond of belonging to Jesus Christ, following Baptism and Confirmation”.