Pope Francis joined around 15,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square Photo: Vatican Media

The Eucharist explained as a gift by Pope Francis on Corpus Christi Day

Allocution on the occasion of the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, June 2, 2024

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 06.02.2024).- At noon on Sunday, June 2, Pope Francis joined around 15,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Sunday Angelus. Prior to the Marian prayer, the Pope delivered his Sunday address, which we offer below translated into English:


Today, in Italy and in other countries, we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Domini. The Gospel of the liturgy today tells us about the Last Supper (Mk 14:12-26), during which the Lord performs a gesture of handing over: in fact, in the broken bread and in the chalice offered to the disciples, it is He who gives Himself for all humanity, and offers Himself for the life of the world.

In that gesture of Jesus who breaks the bread, there is an important aspect that the Gospel emphasizes with the words “he gave it to them” (v. 22).

Let us fix these words in our heart: he gave it to them. Indeed, the Eucharist recalls first and foremost the dimension of the gift. Jesus takes the bread not to consume it by Himself, but to break it and give it to the disciples, thus revealing His identity and His mission. He did not keep life for Himself, but gave it to us; He did not consider His being as God a jealously-held treasure, but stripped Himself of His glory to share our humanity and let us enter eternal life (cf. Phil 2:1-11). Jesus made a gift of His entire life. Let us remember this: Jesus made a gift of His entire life.

Let us understand, then, that that celebrating the Eucharist and eating this Bread, as we do especially on Sundays, is not an act of worship detached from life or a mere moment of personal consolation; we must always remember that Jesus took the bread, broke it and gave it to them and, therefore, communion with Him makes us capable of also becoming bread broken for others, capable of sharing what we are and what we have. Saint Leo the Great said: ‘Our participation in the body and blood of Christ tends to make us become what we eat’ (Sermon XII on the Passion, 7).

This, brothers and sisters, is what we are called to: to become what we eat, to become “Eucharistic”, that is, people who no longer live for themselves (cf. Rm 14:7), no, in the logic of possession, of consumption, no, people who know how to make their own life a gift for others, yes. In this way, thanks to the Eucharist, we become prophets and builders of a new world: when we overcome selfishness and open ourselves up to love, when we cultivate bonds of fraternity, when we participate in the sufferings of our brothers and sisters and share bread and resources with those in need, when we make all our talents available, then we are breaking the bread of our life like Jesus.

Brothers and sisters, let us ask ourselves, then: do I keep my life only for myself, or do I give it like Jesus? Do I spend myself for others or am I closed within my own little self? And, in everyday situations, do I know how to share, or do I always seek my own interest?

May the Virgin Mary, who welcomed Jesus, bread descended from Heaven, and gave herself entirely together with Him, help us too to become a gift of love, united with Jesus in the Eucharist.

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