Vatican City, 2 June 2013 (VIS) – At noon today, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, informing them that this past Thursday was the celebration of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi—”the Feast of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ”—which in Italy and other countries is celebrated today.
Commenting on the Gospel that narrates the miracle of the loaves and fish, the Bishop of Rome said that there is an aspect of this story that always surprises him and causes him to reflect. “We are on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Evening draws near. Jesus is concerned for the people who, for so many hours, have been with him. There are thousands of them and they are hungry. What is to be done? The disciples are also discussing the problem and they say to Jesus: ‘Dismiss the crowd’ so they can go to the nearby villages and find something to eat. Instead, Jesus tells them: ‘Give them some food yourselves’. The disciples are baffled and answer: ‘Five loaves and two fish are all we have’, that is, just enough for us.”
“Jesus knows well what must be done but he wants to involve his disciples, wants to educate them. The disciples’ attitude is the human one, which seeks the most realistic solution, the one that doesn’t create too many problems: Dismiss the crowd, they say, and let each of them fend for themselves. Anyway, you have already done so much for them: you have preached, you have healed the sick … Dismiss the crowd.”
“Jesus’ attitude is completely different and is dictated by his union with the Father and his compassion for the people—by that compassion that Jesus has for us all. Jesus hears our problems, feels our weaknesses and our needs. Faced with those five loaves, Jesus thinks: here’s providence. From this little bit God can bring forth what everyone needs. Jesus trust completely in the heavenly Father, knowing that, with Him, everything is possible. Therefore he tells the disciples to seat the people of groups of fifty. This isn’t an accident—it means that they are no longer a crowd but become communities, nourished by the bread of God.”
“Then he takes the bread and the fish, lifts his eyes to heaven, recites the blessing—which is a clear reference to the Eucharist—then breaks them, begins to give them to his disciples, and the disciples distribute it. And the bread and fish don’t stop … here is the miracle! More than a multiplication it is a sharing, inspired by faith and prayer. They all ate and there were leftovers. This is the sign of Jesus, the bread of God for humanity.”
The disciples,” the Pope noted, “saw, but they didn’t grasp the message. They were caught up, like the crowd, in this success. Once again they followed human logic, not that of God, which is the logic of service, love, and faith. The Feast of Corpus Christi asks us to convert to faith in Providence, asks us to know how to share the little that we are and that we have, and asks that we not ever get locked up in ourselves. Let us ask our Mother Mary to help us in this conversion, to truly follow more closely Jesus whom we adore in the Eucharist.”