07/29/2018, 15.23
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Pope talks about the courage of young people and leftover food not to be thrown away

"Faced with the cry of hunger – all sorts of "hunger" – of so many brothers and sisters in every part of the world, we cannot remain indifferent and calm spectators,” said Francis during the Angelus. “Never throw away leftover food", Francis added. Instead, “use it again or give it to those who can eat it, to those who need it.” He called for prayers to the Virgin Mary so “that programmes dedicated to development, food, and solidarity in the world prevail, not those of hatred, armaments and war." Tomorrow is the UN-sponsored World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis spoke to the crowd in St Peter’s Square before today’s Angelus about the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish (John 6, 1:15), praising the courage of the boy who offered five loaves and the two fish and pushed Jesus to imitate him.

In his address, the pontiff noted that Jesus had the leftover fragments of bread gathered, asking everyone to examine their conscience about what happens to leftover food in their own homes. "Never throw away leftover food", Francis said. Instead, “use it again or give it to those who can eat it, to those who need it."

Following the Marian prayer, the pontiff spoke to the pilgrims in St Peter's Square about the importance of tomorrow’s UN-sponsored World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

At the beginning of his commentary on the Gospel of the day (17th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B), he referred to the boy as "A good lad! Spirited. He too saw the crowd and saw his five loaves and said: 'I have this; if it is needed, here it is.’ This boy makes us reflect ... What courage ... Young people are like that; they have courage. We must help them carry this courage forward."

"Through this Gospel passage,” Francis explained, “the liturgy leads us not to look away from Jesus who, last Sunday, in the Gospel of Mark, ‘saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them’ (6:34). Even the boy with the five loaves understood this compassion and said: ‘Poor people! I have this ...’. Compassion led him to offer what he had. In fact, today John shows us again a Jesus attentive to the basic needs of people. The episode stems from an actual fact: people were hungry and Jesus got his disciples involved so that people were fed.

“Jesus did not limit himself to giving this to the crowd. He offered his Word, his consolation, his salvation, and finally his life, but he certainly did this too: he took care of the food for the body. And we, his disciples, cannot turn a blind eye. Only by listening to the simplest demands of the people and by standing next to their actual existential situations can we be heard when we talk about higher values.​"

"God's love for a humanity hungry for bread, freedom, justice, peace, and above all his divine grace, never fails. Jesus today continues to feed, makes himself a living and consoling presence and does so through us. Therefore, the Gospel invites us to be available and industrious, like that boy.

“Faced with the cry of hunger – all sorts of "hunger" – of so many brothers and sisters in every part of the world, we cannot remain indifferent and calm spectators. Christ’s proclamation, bread of eternal life, requires a generous commitment of solidarity to the poor, the weak, the last, the defenceless. This action of proximity and charity is the best proof of the quality of our faith, both at a personal and a community level.

"At the end of the story, the Evangelist said that, when everyone was satisfied, Jesus told the disciples: ‘Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted’ (John 6:12). I would like to propose this to you: gather the fragments left over so that nothing is wasted. My thoughts go to the people who are hungry and about how much leftover food we throw away ... Let each of us ask: the food that is left over from lunch, dinner, where does it go? At home, what do you do with leftover food? Do you throw it away? [I say] No.

“If you do this, let me give you some advice: talk to your grandparents who lived through the post-war years and ask them what they did with leftover food. Never throw away leftover food. Use it again or give it to those who can eat it, to those who need it. Never throw away leftover food. This is a suggestion and a way to examine your conscience. What do you do at home with food that is left over?

“Let us pray to the Virgin Mary so that programmes dedicated to development, food, and solidarity in the world prevail, not those of hatred, armaments and war."

At the end of the Angelus, after the blessing, the Pope added: "Do not forget two things: an image, an icon, and a sentence, a question. The icon of the brave young man who gave what little he had to feed a great multitude. Have courage, always! And the sentence, which is a question, a way to examine your conscience: what do you do at home with the food that is left over? Thank you!"

Before his greetings to the various groups, Francis noted that tomorrow is World Day against Trafficking in Persons. "This scourge,” he said, “enslaves many men, women and children through labour and sex exploitation, organs trafficking, begging and forced crime. Even here in Rome. Migration routes are also often used by traffickers and exploiters to recruit new victims of trafficking. It is the responsibility of all to denounce injustice and firmly oppose this shameful crime.”

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