Pope Francis: Jesus Christ Alone ‘Nourishes the Soul’

Pope Francis prays during an ordination mass on April 25, 2021 at St. Peter's Basilica in The Vatican, during which he is to ordain nine priests for his diocese as bishop of Rome. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images

ROME — Jesus Christ is “the bread of life” and “he alone nourishes the soul,” Pope Francis declared Sunday during his weekly Angelus address.

“Jesus reveals himself as bread, that is, the essential, what is necessary for everyday life,” the pontiff told crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square. “Without Him it does not work. Not one bread among many others, but the bread of life.”

In his address the pope was reflecting on the gospel reading of the day, where Saint John recalls Jesus’ extended discourse on the bread of life.

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world,” Jesus declares.

Bread is vital to human existence, the pope insisted, and we cannot do without it.

Without Jesus, “rather than living, we get by: because He alone nourishes the soul; He alone forgives us from that evil that we cannot overcome on our own,” Francis said, “He alone makes us feel loved even if everyone else disappoints us; He alone gives us the strength to love and, he alone gives us the strength to forgive in difficulties.”

“We need bread to live,” the pope said. “Those who are hungry do not ask for refined and expensive food; they ask for bread. Those who are unemployed do not ask for enormous wages, but the ‘bread’ of employment.”

According to Francis, Jesus’ teaching on the “bread of life” could only be understood at the end of his life, in the context of the Last Supper.

“Jesus knows that the Father is asking him not only to give food to people, but to give himself, to break himself, his own life, his own flesh, his own heart so that we might have life,” he said.

“These words of the Lord reawaken in us our amazement for the gift of the Eucharist,” he continued. “No one in this world, as much they might love another person, can make themselves become food for them. God did so, and does so, for us.”

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