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Angelus Address: The First Bread that Jesus Offers the Hungry and Lost Crowd Is the Bread of the Word

‘All of Us Are in Need of the Word of Truth, which Guides Us and Illumines the Way’

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 22, 2018 ( Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Before the Angelus:
 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
 Today’s Gospel (Cf. Mark 6:3034) tells us that, after their first mission, the Apostles returned to Jesus and told him “all that they had done and taught” (v. 30). After the experience of the mission, certainly exciting but also tiring, they were in need of rest. And Jesus, full of understanding, is concerned about assuring them some relief and says: “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while” (v. 31). However, this time Jesus’ intention couldn’t be realized because the crowd, intuiting the lonely place where He would have gone with the boat together with His Apostles, got there before their arrival.
The same thing can happen also today. Sometimes we don’t succeed in carrying out our projects because an urgent unforeseen event arrives that upsets our programs and requires flexibility and availability to the needs of others.
In these circumstances we are called to imitate what Jesus did: “As He landed He saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things” (V. 34). In this brief phrase, the evangelist offers us a flash of singular intensity, photographing the divine Teacher’s eyes and His attitude. We observe three verbs of this photogram: to see, to have compassion, to teach. We can call them the verbs of the Shepherd. Jesus’ gaze isn’t a neutral gaze or worse, cold and detached, because Jesus always looks with the eyes of the heart. And His heart is so tender and full of compassion that he is able to see even the most hidden needs of people. Moreover, His compassion doesn’t indicate simply an emotive reaction in face of the people’s situation of hardship, but is much more: it’s God’s attitude and predisposition towards man and his history. Jesus appears as the realization of God’s solicitude and care for His people.
Given that Jesus was moved on seeing all those people in need of guidance and help, we would expect that He would now begin to do a miracle. Instead, He starts to teach them many things. Here is the first bread that the Messiah offers the hungry and lost crowd: the bread of the Word. All of us are in need of the word of truth, which guides us and illumines the way. Without the truth, which is Christ himself, it’s not possible to find the right direction of life. When one distances oneself from Jesus and His love, one is lost and existence is transformed into disappointment and dissatisfaction. With Jesus by one’s side, one can proceed with security; trials can be surmounted; one progresses in love of God and of one’s neighbor. Jesus made Himself gift for others, thus becoming a model of love and service for each one of us.
May Mary Most Holy help us to take on the problems, the sufferings and the difficulties of our neighbor, through an attitude of sharing and service.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus:
 Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Tragic news has arrived in these last weeks of shipwrecks of boats carrying migrants in the waters of the Mediterranean. I express my grief, in face of such tragedies, and I assure my remembrance in prayer for the deceased and their families. I make a heartfelt appeal to the international community to act with determination and promptness, to avoid similar tragedies being repeated, and to guarantee the safety, respect of rights and dignity of all.
My greeting goes to all of you, Romans and pilgrims. In particular, I greet the faithful of the diocese of Rio do Sul (Brazil), the young people of the diocese of Seville (Spain), and the young people of the diocese of Pelplin (Poland), who have come from Assisi in a relay race of prayer for the forthcoming Synod of Bishops.
I greet the parish groups and the Associations and the group of the very young of Piazzola Sul Brenta, diocese of Vicenza.
I wish you all a happy Sunday and, please, don’t forget to pray for me.
Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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Virginia Forrester

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