11/11/2015, 00.00
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Pope: Sad where a family at the table does not speak, this is the silence of selfishness

At his general audience Francis stresses that the sharing of a meal is a "fundamental experience". Conviviality "safe thermometer to measure the health of a relationship. If something is wrong, it soon becomes clear at the table. " The "shame" of too many excluded from access to food. The children attached to computers or mobile phone, while eating, makes the family "a pensioner".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A family that shares its meal in silence, where the children eat attached to their computer or mobile phone, "is not family, rather it has been pensioned off" when silence "is not that of nuns" but the "silence of selfishness." Conviviality "seems to have become something that is bought and sold, but it is another thing. And the nutrition is not always the symbol of a just sharing of goods, capable of reaching those who have no food and no suffering”, said Pope Francis during the catechesis delivered during today's general audience.

The Pope stressed a "characteristic quality of family life that we learn from the first years of life: conviviality, that is the ability to share the goods of life and to be happy to do so." The icon of this conviviality "is the family gathered around the home table. The sharing of a meal - and then, in addition to the food, suffering, stories, events ... – it is a fundamental experience" but also "a sure thermometer to measure the health of the relationship: if your family has something wrong, or some hidden wound, it soon becomes clear at the table. A family that almost never eats together, or not at the table but watching television, or looking at a smartphone, is a 'poor family'. When the children are glued to the computer at the table, to the phone and do not listen to each other, this is not the family, it has been pensioned off".

Christianity, Francis added, "has a special vocation to conviviality, everyone knows it. The Lord Jesus taught at the table, and sometimes represents the kingdom of God as a festive banquet. Moreover, Jesus chose the table to present to his spiritual testament to his disciples, he did over dinner, condensed in his memorial of his sacrifice: the gift of his Body and his Blood as the food and drink of salvation, that true love and lasting nourishment. In this perspective, we can say that the family is "home" at Mass, because brings to the Eucharist its experience of conviviality and opens it to the grace of sociability, of God’s universal love for the world”.

With this in mind and in our time "marked by many closures and by too many walls" conviviality "becomes a crucial opportunity. The Eucharist and families nourished by it can defeat closures and build bridges of acceptance and charity. Yes, the Eucharist of a Church of families able to give back to the community the active yeast of conviviality and mutual hospitality, is a school of human inclusion that is second to none! There are no small, orphaned, weak, defenseless, wounded and disillusioned, hopeless and abandoned, that the conviviality of the Eucharist of the families cannot nourish, replenish, protect and accommodate".

Today the Pope denounced, "many social contexts pose obstacles to family conviviality. True, today is not easy. We must find a way to recover it at the dinner table by talking, listening at the table, no silence that is not the silence of the nuns but the selfishness, the phone, the TV, restore conviviality while adapting it to the times. Conviviality seems to have become something that is bought and sold, but it is another thing. And nutrition is not always the symbol of a just sharing of goods, capable of reaching those who have no food nor affection". All the more so, he adds immediately, "that advertising has reduced us to a languor of snacks and a desire for sweets. While too many brothers and sisters are left out of the table. It's a shame!".

In conclusion Francis invited those present to look at "the mystery of the Eucharistic banquet. The Lord breaks his Body and sheds his Blood for all. Really there is no division that will withstand this sacrifice of communion; only the attitude of falsity, of complicity with evil can be excluded from it. Any other distance cannot resist the defenseless power of this broken bread and this wine poured out, Sacramento to The Sacrament of the one body of the Lord. The living and vital alliance with Christian families, that precedes, supports and dynamically embraces the daily hardships and joys, cooperates with the grace of the Eucharist, which is able to create ever new communion with its power which includes and saves.

The Christian family will thus show the breadth of its true horizon, which is the horizon of the Mother Church of all people, of all the abandoned and marginalized, in all nations. "

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