Jesus’ actions during the last supper, at which he instituted the Eucharist, are “the central event in the history of the world and the personal history of every person,” Pope Benedict told the crowd of thousands gathered at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome.
The Holy Father said that while bread is the “food of the poor”, through bread the Lord chose to make himself present.
The Holy Father went on to explain that while the making of bread is, in one sense, the work of man, it is also a display of heaven, which provides rain for the fields. Therefore, he said, the gift of bread requires a synergy of heaven and earth. “The little bread of the poor,” the Pope said, “is the synthesis of creation.” All creation, he said, yearns to exceed its own strength and spill forth in a union with the Creator.
Bread, which is made up of many grains of wheat, ground together as one, also speaks of the mystery of the passion, the Holy Father said, "only through death can one arrive at resurrection." In this way, Christ was subjected to death in order to bring life for all. With His death and resurrection, Benedict said, Christ brought hope for all of us. And, Pope Benedict said, like the many grains in bread, “although we are many, we must become one body.”
Following the Mass was the traditional procession with the Blessed Sacrament, through the city of Rome to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.
Celebrating Mass today, on the Feast of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, the Holy Father told the faithful that the bread and wine used in the celebration of the Mass are not just accidental articles, but speak a truth about mankind and heaven.