St Peter's Square
Sunday, 2 June 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Good morning! Last Thursday we
celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, which, in
Italy and in other countries has been moved to this
Sunday. It is the Feast of the Eucharist, the sacrament
of the Body and Blood of Christ.
The Gospel presents to us the account of
the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves (Lk
9:11-17); I would like to reflect on one aspect of it
that never fails to impress me and makes me think. We
are on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, daylight is
fading. Jesus is concerned for the people who have spent
so many hours with him: there are thousands of them and
they are hungry. What should he do? The disciples also
pose the problem and tell Jesus: “send the crowd away”
so that they can go and find provisions in the villages
close by. But Jesus says: “You give them something to
eat” (v. 13). The disciples are discomfited and answer
him: “we have no more than five loaves and two fish”, as
if to say, barely enough for ourselves.
Jesus well knows what to do, but he
wishes to involve his disciples, he wants to teach them.
The disciples’ attitude is the human one that seeks the
most realistic solution which does not create too many
problems: dismiss the crowd, they say, let each person
organize himself as best he can, moreover you have
already done so much for them: you have preached, you
have healed the sick.... Send the crowd away!
Jesus’ outlook is very different; it is
dictated by his union with the Father and his compassion
for the people, that mercifulness of Jesus for us all.
Jesus senses our problems, he senses our weaknesses, he
senses our needs. Looking at those five loaves, Jesus
thinks: this is Providence! From this small amount, God
can make it suffice for everyone. Jesus trusts in the
heavenly Father without reserve; he knows that for him
everything is possible. Thus he tells his disciples to
have the people sit down in groups of 50 — this is not
merely coincidental, for it means that they are no
longer a crowd but become communities nourished by God’s
bread. Jesus then takes those loaves and fish, looks up
to heaven, recites the blessing — the reference to the
Eucharist is clear — and breaks them and gives them to
the disciples who distribute them... and the loaves and
fish do not run out, they do not run out! This is the
miracle: rather than a multiplication it is a sharing,
inspired by faith and prayer. Everyone eats and some is
left over: it is the sign of Jesus, the Bread of God for
The disciples witnessed the message but
failed to understand it. Like the crowd they are swept
up by enthusiasm for what has occurred. Once again they
follow human logic rather than God’s, which is that of
service, love and faith. The Feast of Corpus Christi
asks us to convert to faith in Providence, so that we
may share the little we are and have, and never to
withdraw into ourselves. Let us ask our Mother Mary to
help us in this conversion, in order to follow truly and
more closely the Jesus whom we adore in the Eucharist.
So may it be.
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and sisters, my worry
about the ongoing war that has been raging in Syria for
more than two years is more alive and anguished than
ever. It affects in particular the defenceless
population that aspires to peace in justice and in
understanding. This tormented situation of war brings
tragic consequences: death, destruction and immense
economic and environmental damage, as well as the
scourge of kidnapping people. In deploring these events,
I would like to assure those kidnapped and their
relatives of my prayers and solidarity, and I appeal to
the humanity of the kidnappers to release their victims.
Let us continue to pray for our beloved Syria.
There are many situations of conflict in
the world but also many signs of hope. I would like to
encourage the recent steps towards reconciliation and
peace taken by various Latin American countries. Let us
accompany them with our prayers.
This morning I celebrated Holy Mass with
several soldiers and with the parents of some of those
who died in the missions for peace, who seek to further
reconciliation and peace in countries in which so much
fraternal blood is spilled in wars that are always
madness. “Everything is lost in war. Everything is
gained with peace”. I ask for a prayer for the fallen,
for the injured and for their relatives.
Let us now pray together in silence, in
our heart — all together — a prayer for the fallen, for
the injured and for their relatives. In silence.
I greet with affection all the pilgrims
present here today: the families, the faithful of so
many parishes, of Italy and of other countries, the
associations and movements.
I greet the faithful who have come from
Canada and those from Croatia and from Bosnia
Herzegovina, as well as the Piccolo Cottolengo group of
Don Orione’s Work in Genoa.
I greet everyone. I wish you all a good
Sunday and a good lunch!