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Pope's General Audience: The Eucharist is the prayer of Jesus and of his Church

2012-01-11

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"In our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to the prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper, when our Lord instituted the Eucharist, the sacrament of his Body and Blood. Jesus’ gift of himself anticipates his sacrifice on the Cross and his glorious Resurrection.

The Eucharist is the supreme prayer of Jesus and of his Church. At the Last Supper, with its overtones of the Passover and the commemoration of Israel’s liberation, Jesus’ prayer echoes the Hebrew berakah, which includes both thanksgiving and the gift of a blessing.

His act of breaking the bread and offering the cup on the night before he died becomes the sign of his redemptive self-oblation in obedience to the Father’s will: he thus appears as the true paschal lamb who brings the ancient worship to fulfillment. Jesus’ prayer also invokes strength for his disciples, especially Peter.

May our celebration of the Eucharist, in obedience to Christ’s command, unite us more deeply to his prayer at the Last Supper and enable us, in union with him, to offer our lives ever more fully in sacrifice to the Father.

I greet the many school groups from the United States present at today’s Audience, including the deacons from Saint Paul’s Seminary in Minnesota.

My greeting also goes to the students of Carmel College in New Zealand. I welcome the participants in the Interfaith Journey from Canada. Upon all the English-speaking visitors and their families I cordially invoke God’s abundant blessings!"