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Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (9 August 2015)

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (2 August 2015)

Papa Francisco's words at the Angelus in St Peter's Square
Sunday, 2nd August 2015 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
This Sunday the Reading of chapter six of the Gospel according to John continues. After the multiplication of the loaves, the people went in search of Jesus and finally found him near Capernaum. He was well aware of the motive for their great enthusiasm in seeking him and he made this clear to them: “You seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (Jn 6, 26). In fact, those people followed him for the material bread which had placated their hunger the previous day, when Jesus had performed the multiplication of the loaves; they had not understood that that bread, broken for so many, for the multitude, was the expression of the love of Jesus himself. They had given more meaning to that bread than to its donor. Before this spiritual blindness, Jesus emphasizes the necessity of going beyond the gift, to discover, come to know the donor. God himself is both the gift and the giver. Thus from that bread, from that gesture, the people can find the One who gives it, who is God. He invites them to open up to a perspective which is not only that of the daily need to eat, dress, achieve success, build a career. Jesus speaks of another food. He speaks of a food which is incorruptible and which is good to seek and gather. He exhorts: “Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you” (v 27). That is to say, seek salvation, the encounter with God.

With these words, he seeks to make us understand that, in addition to physical hunger man carries within him another hunger — all of us have this hunger — a more important hunger, which cannot be satisfied with ordinary food. It is a hunger for life, a hunger for eternity which He alone can satisfy, as he is “the bread of life” (v 35). Jesus does not eliminate the concern and search for daily food. No, he does not remove the concern for all that can make life more progressive. But Jesus reminds us that the true meaning of our earthly existence lies at the end, in eternity, it lies in the encounter with Him, who is gift and giver. He also reminds us that human history with its suffering and joy must be seen in a horizon of eternity, that is, in that horizon of the definitive encounter with Him. And this encounter illuminates all the days of our life. If we think of this encounter, of this great gift, the small gifts of life, even the suffering, the worries, will be illuminated by the hope of this encounter. “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst” (v 35). This refers to the Eucharist, the greatest gift that satisfies the soul and the body. Meeting and welcoming within us Jesus, “Bread of Life”, gives meaning and hope to the often winding journey of life. This “Bread of Life” is given to us with a task, namely, that we in our turn satisfy the spiritual and material hunger of our brothers, proclaiming the Gospel the world over. With the witness of our brotherly and supportive attitude toward our neighbour, we render Christ and his love present amid mankind.

May the Blessed Virgin sustain us in the search and sequela of her Son Jesus, the true bread, the living bread which does not spoil, but which endures for eternal life.

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (26 July 2015)

Papa Francisco's words at the Angelus in St Peter's Square
in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning.
This Sunday’s Gospel presents the great sign of the multiplication of the loaves, in the account of John the Evangelist (6, 1-15). Jesus is on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and is surrounded by “a multitude”, who were attracted by “the signs which he did on those who were diseased” (v. 2). Acting in Him is the merciful power of God, who heals every evil of the body and spirit. But Jesus is not only healer, he is also teacher: indeed, he goes up into the hills and sits, with the typical attitude of a teacher when he teaches: he goes up to that natural “pulpit” created by his Heavenly Father. At this point Jesus, who fully understands what he is about to do, puts his disciples to the test. How can they feed all these people? Philip, one of the Twelve, quickly calculates: by taking up a collection, they might collect 200 denarii at most, which would not be enough to feed 5,000 people.

The disciples reason in “marketing” terms, but Jesus substitutes the logic of buying with another logic, the logic of giving. It is here that Andrew, one of the Apostles, the brother of Simon Peter, presents a young lad who offers everything he has: five loaves and two fish; but of course, Andrew says, they are nothing for that multitude (cf v 9). Jesus is actually expecting this. He orders the disciples to make the people sit down, then he takes those loaves and those fish, gives thanks to the Father and distributes them (cf v 11). These acts prefigure the Last Supper, which gives the bread of Jesus its truest significance. The bread of God is Jesus Himself. By receiving Him in Communion, we receive his life within us and we become children of the Heavenly Father and brothers among ourselves. By receiving communion we meet Jesus truly living and risen! Taking part in the Eucharist means entering into the logic of Jesus, the logic of giving freely, of sharing. And as poor as we are, we all have something to give. “To receive Communion” means to draw from Christ the grace which enables us to share with others all we are and all we have.

The crowd is struck by the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves; but the gift Jesus offers is the fullness of life for a hungering mankind. Jesus satiates not only material hunger, but the most profound one, the hunger for the meaning of life, the hunger for God. Before the suffering, loneliness, poverty and difficulties of so many people, what can we ourselves do? Complaining doesn’t resolve anything, but we can offer the little that we have, like the lad in the Gospel. We surely have a few hours of time, certain talents, some skills.... Who among us doesn’t have “five loaves and two fish” of his own? We all have them! If we are willing to place them in the Lord’s hands, they will be enough to bring about a little more love, peace, justice and especially joy in the world. How necessary joy is in the world! God is capable of multiplying our small acts of solidarity and allowing us to share in his gift.

May our prayer sustain the common commitment that no one may lack the heavenly Bread which gives eternal life and the basic necessities for a dignified life, and may it affirm the logic of sharing and love. May the Virgin Mary accompany us with her maternal intercession."

After the Angelus:

"Dear brothers and sisters, today registration opens for the 31st World Youth Day, which will be held next year in Poland. I wanted to open the enrolment personally and for this reason I asked a girl and a boy to stand next to me, so they would be with me at the moment that the registration opens, here before you. There, on this electronic device I have now enrolled in the Day as a pilgrim. Being celebrated during the Year of Mercy, this Day will be, in a certain sense, a jubilee of youth, called to reflect on the theme “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5, 7). I invite the young people of the world to experience this pilgrimage either by going to Krakow, or by taking part in this moment of grace in their own communities.

In a few days it will be the second anniversary of the abduction of Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio in Syria. I address an earnest and urgent appeal for the release of this esteemed religious man. I cannot forget the Orthodox Bishops also abducted in Syria and all the other people who have been seized in areas of conflict. I hope for the renewed commitment of the competent local and international Authorities, in order that freedom may soon be restored to these brothers of ours. With affection and joining in their suffering, we wish to remember them in prayer. Let us all pray together to Our Lady: Hail Mary....

I greet all of you, pilgrims from Italy and from other countries. I greet the international pilgrimage of the Sisters of St Felix, the faithful of Salamanca, the youth of Brescia who are performing service to the poor at the Caritas of Rome’s soup kitchen, and the young people from Ponte San Giovanni, Perugia.

Today, 26 July, the Church remembers Sts Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and thus, Jesus’ grandparents. On this occasion, I would like to greet all grandmothers and grandfathers, thanking them for their valuable presence in families and for the new generations. For all grandparents who are living, but also for those who are watching us from Heaven, let’s salute them with a round of applause....

I wish everyone a happy Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch. Arrivederci!"

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (19 July 2015)

Papa Francisco's words at the Angelus in St Peter's Square
in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
I see you are braving this heat in the Square, well done! Today’s Gospel tells us that the Apostles, after the experience of the mission, have returned content but also tired. Jesus, filled with understanding, wants to give them some relief; and so he takes them away, to a lonely place, so they can rest a while (cf Mk 6, 31). “Many saw them going, and knew … and got there ahead of them” (v 33). From this point the Evangelist offers us the image of Jesus of singular intensity, “photographing”, so to speak, his eyes and gathering the sentiments of his heart. The Evangelist states: “As he landed he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things” (v 34).

Let us recall the three verbs in this evocative photogram: to see, to have compassion, to teach. We can call them the verbs of the Shepherd. To see, to have compassion, to teach. The first and second, to see and to have compassion, are always found together in the attitude of Jesus: in fact his gaze is not the gaze of a sociologist or a photojournalist, for he always gazes with “the eyes of the heart”. These two verbs, to see and to have compassion, configure Jesus as the Good Shepherd. His compassion too, is not merely a human feeling, but is the deep emotion of the Messiah in whom God’s tenderness is made flesh. From this tenderness is born Jesus’ wish to nourish the crowd with the bread of his Word, that is, to teach the Word of God to the people. Jesus sees, Jesus has compassion, Jesus teaches us. This is beautiful!

I asked the Lord that the Spirit of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, this Spirit, should guide me in the course of the apostolic journey which I carried out in recent days in Latin America, and which allowed me to visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. I wholeheartedly thank God for this gift. I thank the peoples of the three countries for their warm and affectionate welcome and enthusiasm. I renew my recognition of the Authorities of these countries for their welcome and cooperation. With great affection I thank my brother bishops, the priests, consecrated people and all the peoples for their warm participation. With these brothers and sisters I praised the Lord for the wonders that he has worked in the People of God journeying in those lands, through the faith which has enlivened and enlivens their life and their culture. We also praised him for the natural beauty with which he has enriched these countries. The Latin American Continent has great human and spiritual resources, safeguards deeply rooted Christian values, but also experiences serious social and economic problems. In order to contribute to their solution, the Church is committed to mobilizing the spiritual and moral forces of its communities, cooperating with all members of society. Before the great challenges that must be faced in proclaiming the Gospel, I urged them to draw from Christ the Lord the grace which saves and which gives strength to the commitment of Christian testimony, to enhance the spreading of the Word of God, so that the outstanding religiosity of those peoples may always bear faithful witness to the Gospel.

I entrust the fruit of this unforgettable apostolic journey to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, whom all of Latin America venerates as its Patron with the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe."

After the Angelus:

"Dear brothers and sisters, I cordially greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims!
I greet in particular the young people of Pamplona and Tudela, Spain. I greet the Sisters of the Sacred Family of Nazareth gathered in Rome for their General Chapter; the Orchestra of Offanengo-Casalbuttano; the Choirs of Vigo Cavedine, Trento; the youth volunteers at the Arco di Trento Convent, young people from Meana Sardo and those taking part in the holiday organized by INPS of Pomezia; the young people of Catholic Action in Mellaredo and Rivale, Padua.
I wish everyone a happy Sunday. I ask you to please pray for me, don’t forget.
Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!"