Pope asks Christians to hunger for Jesus’ love

By David Kerr

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Pope Benedict XVI says that all Christians should reflect on how “hungry” they are to know and love Jesus Christ.

“We too must ask ourselves if we really feel this hunger, hunger for the word of God, hunger to know the real meaning of life,” he said in his Sunday Angelus remarks Aug. 12. 

“Only those who are attracted by God the Father, who listen and allow themselves to be instructed by him can believe in Jesus, encounter him and nourish themselves of him and thus find true life, the path of life, justice, truth and love.”

The Pope addressed pilgrims gathered within the courtyard of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, 20 miles to the south of Rome. He based his reflections upon the Gospel of the day in which Jesus revealed himself to the Jewish crowds as “the true bread which came down from heaven.”

Pope Benedict explained that in Jewish thought it was clear that “the true bread from heaven that nourished Israel was the Law, the word of God,” as given to Moses in the Torah. It was this that distinguished them from their neighbors because through this “true bread” they knew God’s will “and therefore the right path of life.”

“Now Jesus, in revealing himself as the bread of heaven, testifies that he is the Word of God in person, the word incarnate, through which man can make God’s will his food which guides and supports our existence,” the Pope explained.

Despite this revelation, however, the crowds “do not go beyond his earthly origins, and therefore refuse to welcome him as the Word of God made flesh.”

In the Gospel, the skeptical multitude asked “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother?”

However, the Pope said that to doubt the divinity of Christ means “opposing God’s work.”

Pope Benedict concluded by asking the Blessed Virgin Mary to “guide us to the encounter with Jesus so that our friendship with him be always more intense.” He also asked her to “introduce us into the full communion of love with her son, the living bread which came down from heaven, so as to be renewed by him in our innermost selves.”

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