Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The crowds that followed Jesus for material bread, the fruit of multiplication, "did not understand their own spiritual blindness. Christ urges us to go beyond our own material needs and open up to a perspective that goes beyond, i.e. the bread of life expression of His love,” said Pope Francis before the Angelus.
"After the multiplication of the loaves,” the pontiff told the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square, “the people went looking for Jesus and finally found him in Capernaum. He understood the reason for such enthusiasm in following Him and clearly mentioned it when he said, 'you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled' (John, 6: 26). In fact, people followed him for the material bread that had sated their hunger the previous day, when Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves. They did not understand that the bread, broken for many, for a lot of people, was the expression of the love of Jesus himself. "
Essentially, the pope explained, the crowds "had given more value to the bread than to the one who gave it. In the face such spiritual blindness, Jesus emphasised the need to go beyond the gift, stressing the need to discover and know the giver. God is the gift and giver all in one. Thus, from such bread, from such deed, people can find the one who gives it, i.e. God. He calls upon us to open up to a perspective that is not only that of everyday concerns like eating, clothing, success, or career. Jesus talks about another food, one that is not corruptible, one that is good to look for and welcome."
“Work,” said the pope, "seek salvation and the encounter with God. Through these words, he wants us to understand that, in addition to physical hunger, man has within him another hunger. We all carry this hunger, a more important hunger, which cannot be satisfied with ordinary food. This is hunger for life, the hunger for eternity that only He can satisfy, for he is 'bread of life' (v.35).”
Jesus, Francis said, "does not eliminate worries and the search for daily food and everything that can make life more advanced. Yet, Jesus reminds us that the true meaning of our earthly existence lies in eternity, in the encounter with him who is the gift and the one who gives it."
He "also reminds us that human history, with its sufferings and joys, must be seen from a perspective of eternity. From that perspective of the definitive encounter with Him, and that encounter, he illuminates all the days of our life. If we think about this encounter, and the small gifts of life, even suffering and worries will be illuminated by this encounter."
Finally, meeting and welcoming Jesus in us as the "bread of life" through the Eucharist "gives meaning and hope to the often tortuous path of life. Yet we are given this 'bread of life' as a task, so that we can in turn satisfy the spiritual and material hunger of our brothers and sisters, by proclaiming the Gospel everywhere. Through the witness of our fraternal and supportive attitude towards others, we make Christ and his love present among people. May the Blessed Virgin sustain us in finding and following her Son Jesus, the ‘real bread’, which is imperishable and lasts for eternal life."
After the Marian prayer, the pope spoke some more without his prepared notes. "Today,” he said, we remember the Pardon of Assisi. This is a powerful call to come close to the Lord through the Sacrament of Mercy and by receiving the Communion. Some people are afraid of coming close to the confession, but the immensely merciful Father forgives everyone. It is true that when we go into the confessional we feel a bit of shame. This is something that happens to everyone, to all of us. But we must remember that this shame too is a grace that prepares us to the embrace of the Father, who always forgives everything."