(AsiaNews) - "In days full of trials and tribulations, but also those of rest
and relaxation, the Lord invites us not forget that while we worry about material
bread and restoring our strength, it is even more fundamental to develop our relationship
with Him, to strengthen our faith in He who is the "bread of life"
that fills our desire for truth and love. " This
is the conclusion of the Benedict XVI's brief reflection before praying the
Angelus with pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of
The tension between the "material bread" and the "bread of life" was the recurring refrain in the words of the pontiff, who commented on the verse from the Gospel of John proclaimed in the Sunday liturgy (John 6, 24-35).
Benedict XVI said that people, after the miracle of the multiplication of bread, go looking for Jesus "Jesus - explained the pope - knew the reason for such enthusiasm in following him and he says it clearly: you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled"(v. 26). Jesus wants to help people move beyond the immediate satisfaction of their material needs, even though they too are important. He wants to open up a horizon of existence which is not simply that of the daily concerns of eating, dressing, a career. Jesus speaks of a food that never perishes, which is important to partake of and welcome ".
"He says:" Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you"(v. 27). The crowd once again does not understand, and thinks that Jesus is demanding they observe certain precepts in order to obtain the continuation of that miracle, and as a result asks, "What should we do to accomplish the works of God?" (v. 28). Jesus' answer is clear: "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent"(v. 29)."
"The center of existence - says the Pope - what gives full meaning and firm hope to often difficult journey is faith in Jesus, is our encounter with Christ. This does not mean following an idea, a project, but encountering Him as a living Person, to be fully involved by Him and His Gospel. Jesus invites them to look ahead and to open the human horizon to the horizon of God, the horizon of faith. He makes only one demand: to welcome God's plan, that is, "believe in the one he sent" (v. 29). Moses had given Israel the manna, the bread from heaven, with which God himself had fed his people. Jesus does not give something, he gives Himself: He is the "true bread which came down from heaven", and it is in encountering Him that we encounter the living God. "
He adds: "Jesus, the bread of life that satisfies our hunger for meaning, for truth, can not be "earned" through human effort, He comes to us only as a gift of God, as God's work, to be sought for and welcomed".