Pope Francis' Sunday Angelus Message on June 02, 2013

More than 100,000 pilgrims were in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday for the Pope’s weekly Angelus address. On a beautiful June day, Pope Francis spoke about the Feast of Corpus Christi, “the feast of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.” 

This feast, the Holy Father said, “calls us to convert to faith in Providence, to be able to share the little that we are and that we have, and never to close in on ourselves.” Below, please find the translation of the complete text of Pope Francis’ catechesis during the Sunday Angelus: 

Dear brothers and sisters,
Last Thursday we celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, which in Italy and other countries is transferred to Sunday. It is the Feast of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Gospel tells the story of the miracle of the loaves (Luke 9:11-17). I want to focus on one aspect that always strikes me and makes me think. We are on the shore of Lake Galilee, the evening draws near, Jesus cares for the people who have been with him for so many hours: there are thousands of them, and they are hungry. What to do? The disciples are discussing the problem, and they say to Jesus, “Dismiss the crowd” so that they can go into the neighboring villages to find food. But Jesus says, “Give them some food yourselves” (v. 13). The disciples are unsettled, and they respond, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have,” as if to say: just enough for ourselves.

Jesus knows very well what to do, but wants to involve his disciples, He wants to teach them. The attitude of the disciples is human attitude, an attitude that seeks the most realistic solution, a solution that does not create too many problems: Dismiss the crowd - they say - let each one arrange what he can for himself; for the rest, you have already done so much for them: you preached, you healed the sick...Dimiss the crowd!

Jesus’ attitude is completely different, and is dictated by His union with the Father and compassion for the people, the compassion Jesus has for all of us: Jesus feels our problems, feels our failings, feels our needs. Before those five loaves, Jesus thinks: here is providence! From this tiny amount, God can bring forth what is necessary for everyone. Jesus trusts completely in the heavenly Father, He knows that in Him all things are possible. So he tells the disciples to have the people sit down in groups of fifty – this is not accidental: this means that they are no longer a crowd, but they become communities, nourished by the bread of God. Then He takes the loaves and fishes, raises His eyes to heaven, says the blessing – the reference to the Eucharist is clear - and then He breaks them and begins to give them to the disciples, and the disciples distribute them... and bread and fish do not do not run out! This is the miracle: more than a multiplication it is a sharing, animated by faith and prayer. They all ate and some was left over: it is the sign of Jesus, the bread of God for humanity.

The disciples saw, but didn’t understand the message well. They were caught up, like the crowd, in the enthusiasm of success. Once again, they followed human logic and not that of God, that of service, of love, of faith. The feast of Corpus Christi calls us to convert to faith in Providence, to be able to share the little that we are and that we have, and never to close in on ourselves. Let us ask our Mother Mary to help in this conversion, to truly follow the Jesus whom we worship in the Eucharist. Amen.

After the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis appealed for prayers for victims of war. Speaking to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope expressed sorrow and preoccupation for the war that has been raging in Syria for the past two years. He observed that it particularly strikes the defenseless civil population that hopes for a just peace and comprehension.

“Wars” – Pope Francis said – “are always madness: all is lost in war, all is to be gained in peace”. Speaking after the recitation of the Angelus, the Pope asked those present to pray in silence for those who have fallen in war and for all other victims of conflict. And he spoke of the tragic consequences of war which - he said - brings with it death, destruction, huge economic and environmental damage, as well as the scourge of kidnapping.

“In deploring all of these” – Francis continued –“I wish to assure my prayers and my solidarity for those who are being held in captivity and for their families, and I appeal to the humanity of the kidnappers to free their victims”. Let us always pray – he concluded – “for our beloved Syria”.

The Pope then revealed that on Sunday morning, the second of June, the day in which Italy observes “Republic Day” and lays a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, he celebrated Mass with a group of soldiers and families of military personnel who have been killed during peace missions which – he said – “aim to promote reconciliation and peace in countries in which the blood of brothers continues to be spilt in wars that are always madness”. Pope Francis concluded his address with yet another heartfelt appeal for prayers for those who have fallen in war, for those who are wounded in conflict, and for their families.