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Angelus Address: On the Meaning of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish

‘Sign of the Great Gift that the Father Has Made to Humanity, which Is Jesus Himself, the True Bread of Life’

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VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 5, 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!
In these last Sundays, the liturgy has shown us Jesus’ image full of tenderness, who goes to meet the crowds and their needs. In today’s evangelical account (Cf. John 6:24-35) the perspective changes: it’s the crowd, fed by Jesus, which again begins to look for Him. However, for Jesus it’s not enough that the people seek Him; He wants the people to know Him. He wants the search for Him and the meeting with Him to go beyond the immediate satisfaction of material needs. Jesus came to bring us something more: to open our existence to a wider horizon than the daily preoccupations of eating, of dressing, of careers and so on. Therefore, turning to the crowd He exclaims: “You seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (v. 26). Thus He stimulates the people to take a step forward, to question themselves about the meaning of the miracle, and not only to profit from it. In fact, the multiplication of the loaves and of the fish is a sign of the great gift that the Father has made to humanity, which is Jesus Himself!
He, true “bread of life” (v. 35), wants to satiate not only bodies but also souls, giving the spiritual food that can satisfy the greatest hunger. Therefore, He invites the crowd to procure for themselves not the food that doesn’t last, but the food that remains for eternal life (Cf. v. 27). It’s a food that Jesus gives us every day: his Word, his Body, and his Blood. The crowd listens to the Lord’s invitation, but doesn’t understand the meaning – as happens so many times also with us – and they ask Him: “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” (v. 28). Jesus’ listeners think that He is asking them to observe precepts to obtain other miracles, such as that of the multiplication of the loaves. This is a common temptation: to reduce religion to the practice of laws, projecting on our relationship with God the image of the relationship between servants and their master. Servants have to execute the tasks that the master has assigned to them, to enjoy his benevolence. We all know this. Therefore, the crowd wants to know from Jesus what action they must do to please God. However, Jesus gives an unexpected answer: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (v. 29). These words are addressed, today, also to us: the work of God doesn’t consist so much in “doing” things but in “believing” in Him that He has sent.  This means that faith in Jesus enables us to carry out the works of God. If we let ourselves be involved in this relationship of love and of trust with Jesus, we will be able to carry out good works with the fragrance of the Gospel, for the good and the needs of brothers.
The Lord invites us not to forget that, if it’s necessary for us to be concerned about material bread, it’s more important yet is to cultivate our relationship with Him, to reinforce our faith in Him who is the “bread of life,” come to satiate our hunger for truth, our hunger for justice and our hunger for love.
On the day in which we remember the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, Salus populi romani, may the Virgin Mary support us on our journey of faith and help us to abandon ourselves joyfully to God’s plan for our life.
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
 © Libreria Editrice Vatican
 After the Angelus
 Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Forty years ago, Blessed Paul VI was living his last hours on earth. In fact, he died on the evening of August 6, 1978. We remember him with so much veneration and gratitude while awaiting his canonization next October 14. From Heaven, may he intercede for the Church, which he so loved, and for peace in the world. We all greet with applause this great Pope of modernity!
I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims from various countries: families, parish groups, Associations and individual faithful.
In particular, I greet the cycle-pilgrimage from Velehrad (Moravia), the faithful of Lorca (Spain), and the young people and youngsters of Novoli.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you! And enjoy your lunch!
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
 © Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Virginia Forrester

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