Sunday, June 23, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today, in Italy and in other nations, the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Domini, is celebrated. The Gospel presents the episode of the miracle of the loaves (see Lk 9: 11-17) that takes place on the shore of the lake of Galilee. Jesus is intent on speaking to thousands of people, doing healing. At nightfall, the disciples approach the Lord and tell Him: "Give up the crowd to go to the villages and the surrounding countryside, to lodge and find food" (v. 12). Even the disciples were tired. In fact they were in an isolated place, and people had to walk and go to the villages to buy food. And Jesus sees this and answers: "You give them food" (v. 13). These words provoke the astonishment of the disciples. They did not understand, perhaps they were also angry, and they replied: "We have only five loaves and two fish, unless we go to buy food for all these people" (ibid.).
Instead, Jesus invites his disciples to make a true conversion from the logic of "each one for himself" to that of sharing, starting from the little that Providence makes available to us. And he immediately shows that he is clear about what he wants to do. He tells them: "Let them sit in groups of about fifty" (v. 14). Then he takes in his hands the five loaves and the two fishes, turns to the heavenly Father and pronounces the prayer of blessing. Therefore, he begins to break the loaves, to divide the fish, and to give them to the disciples, who distribute them to the crowd. And that food does not end until everyone has been satisfied.
This miracle - very important, so true that it is told by all the Evangelists - manifests the power of the Messiah and, at the same time, his compassion: Jesus has compassion on the people. That prodigious gesture not only remains as one of the great signs of Jesus' public life, but anticipates what will eventually be the memorial of his sacrifice, that is, the Eucharist, the sacrament of his Body and his Blood given for the salvation of world.
The Eucharist is the synthesis of the whole existence of Jesus, which was a single act of love for the Father and brothers. There too, as in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus took the bread in his hands, raised the blessing prayer to the Father, broke the bread and gave it to the disciples; and he did the same with the wine glass. But at that moment, on the eve of his Passion, he wanted to leave in that gesture the Testament of the new and eternal Covenant, a perpetual memorial of his Easter of death and resurrection. Every year the feast of Corpus Christi invites us to renew the wonder and joy for this wonderful gift of the Lord, which is the Eucharist. Let us welcome him with gratitude, not in a passive, habitual way. We must not get used to the Eucharist and go and tell us as if by habit: no! Whenever we approach the altar to receive the Eucharist, we must truly renew our "amen" to the Body of Christ. When the priest tells us "the Body of Christ", we say "amen": but that it is an "amen" that comes from the heart, convinced. It is Jesus, it is Jesus who saved me, it is Jesus who comes to give me the strength to live. It is Jesus, living Jesus. But we must not get used to it: every time as if it were the first communion.
Expression of the Eucharistic faith of the holy people of God are the processions with the Blessed Sacrament, which take place everywhere in the Catholic Church on this Solemnity. This evening, in the Casal Bertone district of Rome, I will celebrate Mass, followed by a procession. I invite everyone to participate, even spiritually, through radio and television. May Our Lady help us to follow Jesus with faith and love whom we adore in the Eucharist.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday, in Madrid, Beate Maria Carmen Lacaba Andía and 13 sisters of the Franciscan Order of the Immaculate Conception were proclaimed to have been killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution between 1936 and 1939. These cloistered nuns, like the Virgins prudent, they awaited the arrival of the divine Spouse with heroic faith. Their martyrdom is an invitation for all of us to be strong and persevering, especially at the time of trial. We greet these new Blessed with applause!
I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims. In particular, those from Brazil, the Isle of Guam (United States of America) and the Liverpool pilgrimage promoted by the Sisters of Our Lady of Namur.
I greet the faithful of Salerno, Crotone and Lanciano.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
FULL TEXT + Image shared from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation