Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Jesus teaches us to put the needs of the poor before our own". This is just one of the "messages" that Pope Francis drew from today's Gospel (the multiplication of the loaves, Matthew 14:13-21) before tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus, despite the rain, and for this commended by the Pope for their "bravery".
although legitimate - he added - will
never be as urgent as those of the poor,
who do not have enough to live on."
"We often speak of the poor", he said moving from his prepared text . "But when we talk about them, do we really feel the fact that this man, that woman, those children would not have the chance to clothe or feed themselves? And that those children do not have the opportunity to go to school?". This style of Jesus - he explained - was born of His compassion. "In front of the crowd that follows Him - who so to speak - 'never leave Him in peace', Jesus' reaction is not one of irritation, rather He feels compassion, because He knows they are not following Him out of curiosity, but out of need. And let's be careful: Compassion is not just feeling pity, compassion means, identifying with the suffering of others and taking them on ourselves. This is how Jesus suffers with us, how He suffers for us. And the sign of this compassion are the many healings he carried out".
"The second message - he continued - is sharing. It is useful to compare the reaction of the disciples, in front of tired and hungry people, with that of Jesus'. The disciples thought it was best to send them away, to find their own food. Jesus instead says: give them something to eat. Two different reactions, which reflect two opposing logics: the disciples are thinking according to the world - each for their own. They reason as if to say: deal with it! Jesus thinks according to the logic of God, which is that of sharing. How often do we turn away so as not to have to look at the poor. This is another - yellow bellied way to say: Deal with it on your own! This is selfishness.
If [Jesus] had dismissed the
crowds, many people would have been left without
food. Instead, the
few loaves and fishes, shared and blessed by God, were enough for all. Be
careful: This is not magic, it is a "sign"! A sign that invites you to have faith in God, the provident Father, who ensures us 'Our Daily Bread', if we know how to share as
"Finally - he concluded - a third message: the miracle of the loaves heralds the Eucharist. This is seen in Jesus' gesture 'when He recites a blessing" (v. 19) before breaking the bread and distributing it to the crowd. Jesus will make the same gesture at the Last Supper, when He established the perpetual memorial of His redeeming sacrifice. At the Eucharist Jesus does not give us a loaf of bread, but the bread of eternal life, He gives Himself, offering Himself to the Father out of love for us".
"We - he still said arm - we should approach the Eucharist with the same sentiments as Jesus: compassion, sharing ... Those who approach the Eucharist without these Christ's sentiments, does no good".