For Francis, speaking during the Angelus, the mystery of the Incarnation is disorienting. “What sense can there be, in the eyes of the world, in kneeling before a piece of bread?” he asked. “[W]e should not be surprised if Jesus Christ throws us into crisis”; if it happens, it is “because we might have watered down his message.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The road to the encounter with God does not pass "out of life and history, but [occurs] in the relationship with Christ and with the brothers,” said Pope Francis from his window, addressing the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square for the Sunday Angelus prayer.
Commenting on the passage from John's Gospel in today's liturgy (Jn 6:60-69), which recounts the reaction of the crowd and the disciples to the words spoken by Jesus after the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, the pontiff focused on those who, faced with this message, pulled back scandalised.
“From what does this unbelief arise? What is the reason for this refusal?” he asked. The scandal, Pope Francis answered, stems from the fact that Jesus explains that "God has chosen to manifest himself and carry out salvation in the weakness of human flesh.”
The very incarnation "represents for those people - but often also for us - an obstacle.” Indeed, Jesus states that in order “to enter into communion with God, before observing laws or satisfying religious precepts, it is necessary to live a real and concrete relationship with him.”
“We must not pursue God,” the pontiff warned, “in dreams and images of greatness and power;” instead, “we must recognise him in the humanity of Jesus, consequently, in that of the brothers and sisters we meet on the path of life.”
“God became flesh and blood; he lowered himself to the point of becoming a man like us. He humbled himself to the point of taking on our sufferings and our sin, and he asks us to look for him, therefore, not outside of life and history, but in the relationship with Christ and the brothers.”
For Francis, this “can cause scandal and it is not easy to accept.” It is a scandal that is revealed in the mystery of the Eucharist itself. “What sense can there be, in the eyes of the world, in kneeling before a piece of bread? Why should we assiduously eat this bread?”
“Faced with the amazing gesture of Jesus who fed thousands of people with five loaves and two fish, everyone acclaimed him and wanted to carry him in triumph,” Francis said.
“But when he himself explained that that gesture was a sign of his sacrifice, that is, of the gift of his life, of his flesh and of his blood, and that whoever wanted to follow him had to assimilate him, his humanity given for God and for others, then no, that Jesus was no longer good.”
“Dear brothers, we should not be surprised if Jesus Christ throws us into crisis,” he said in concluding. “We should worry if he does not throw us into crisis, because we might have watered down his message. Let ask for the grace to allow ourselves to be provoked and converted by his words of eternal life.”