Drawing from today’s Gospel from the Bread of Life discourse found in St. John’s Gospel, Pope Francis is encouraging the faithful to keep their sights on heaven and go beyond the preoccupations of daily life.
The Pope said this today in his address before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
In the reading, we hear about how the people followed Jesus to Capernaum, because their hunger had been satisfied through the multiplication of the loaves.
“They had not understood that this bread broken for so many, for the multitude, was the expression of love of Jesus himself,” the Pope explained. “They had given more value to the bread than to its provider.”
The Holy Father noted that Jesus points to the need to go beyond the material gift. “God himself is the gift and the giver. And thus in that bread, in that gesture, the people can find the One who gives the bread, who is God.”
Echoing Jesus’ own exhortation, the Pope said that we shouldn’t get caught up in daily worries.
“[Jesus] wants us to understand that beyond physical hunger, man has a different kind of hunger – all of us have this hunger – a hunger that is more important and that cannot be satisfied with normal food,” he said. “This is a hunger for life, a hunger for eternity that only He can satisfy as He is the ‘bread of life.’”
Though Jesus doesn’t take away our concern for procuring our daily bread, he instead “reminds us that in the end, the true meaning of our earthly existence is in eternity, is in the encounter with Him, who is gift and giver. And he reminds us as well that human history, with its suffering and joys, needs to be viewed in a context of eternity, that is, in the context of that definitive encounter with Him,” the Pontiff reflected.
He continued: “And this encounter enlightens us during all the days of our lives. If we think of this encounter, of this great gift, the small gifts of life, and also the sufferings, the worries, will be illuminated by the hope of this encounter. […] To find and to welcome Jesus within us, the ‘bread of life,’ gives meaning and hope in the often-difficult path of life.”
The Pope added that the gift of the “bread of life” comes with a task: that of working to satisfy the “spiritual and material hunger of our brothers and sisters, proclaiming the Gospel in every place.”
“With the testimony of our attitude of fraternity and solidarity with our neighbor,” he said, “we make Christ and his love present again in the midst of mankind.”
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