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!
Celebrated today in Italy and in other Nations is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Domini. The Gospel presents to us the episode of the miracle of the loaves (Cf. Luke 9:11-17), which takes place on the shore of the Lake of Galilee. Jesus is intent on speaking to thousands of people, doing healings. In the evening, the disciples approach the Lord and say to Him: “Send the crowd away, to go into the villages and country round about, to lodge and get provisions” (v. 12). The disciples were also tired. In fact, they were in a lonely place and, to buy food, the people had to walk and go to the villages. And Jesus saw this and answered: “You give them something to eat” (v. 13). At these words, the disciples were astonished. They didn’t understand, perhaps they even got cross, and answered: “We have no more than five loaves and two fish — unless we are to go and buy food for all these people” (Ibid.).
Instead, Jesus invites His disciples to undertake a true conversion from the logic of “each one for himself” to that of sharing, beginning from that little that Providence put at their disposition. And He shows immediately that He has very clear what He wants to do. He says to them: “Make them sit down in companies, about fifty each” (v. 14). Then He takes in His hands the five loaves and two fish, He turns to the heavenly Father and pronounces the prayer of blessing. Then He begins to break the loaves, divide the fish and give them to the disciples, who distribute them to the crowd, and that food doesn’t finish, until all have received it to satiety.
This miracle — very important, so much so that it is recounted by all the Evangelists — manifests the Messiah’s power and, at the same time, His compassion: Jesus has compassion for the people. That prodigious gesture not only remains as one of the great signs of Jesus’ public life, but it anticipates what would later be, at the end, the memorial of His sacrifice, namely, the Eucharist, Sacrament of the His Body and of His Blood given for the salvation of the world.
The Eucharist is the synthesis of Jesus’ whole existence, which was a unique act of love of the Father and of brothers. There also, as in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus takes the bread in His hands, raises the prayer of blessing to the Father, breaks the bread and gives it to the disciples, and He does the same with the chalice of wine. However, at that moment, on the eve of His Passion, He wants to leave in that gesture the Testament of the new and eternal Covenant, perpetual memorial of His Passover of Death and Resurrection.
The feast of Corpus Domini invites us every year to renew the wonder and joy for this stupendous gift of the Lord, which is the Eucharist. Let us receive it with gratitude, not in a passive, habitual way. We must not get used to the Eucharist and go to Communion out of habit: no! Every time we approach the altar to receive the Eucharist, we must truly renew our “Amen” to the Body of Christ. When the priest says to us “the Body of Christ,” we say “Amen,” but it must be an “Amen” that comes from the heart, with conviction. It is Jesus, it is Jesus who has saved me; it is Jesus who comes to give me the strength to live. It is Jesus, Jesus alive, but we must not get used to it: it must be every time as if it were our First Communion.
An expression of the Eucharistic faith of the holy People of God are the processions with the Most Blessed Sacrament, which on this Solemnity are held everywhere in the Catholic Church. This evening, in the Roman district of Casal Bertone, I will also celebrate Mass, which will be followed by a procession. I invite all to take part, also spiritually, through radio and television. May Our Lady help us to follow Jesus with faith and love, whom we adore in the Eucharist.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Madrid were Maria Carmen Lacaba Andia and 13 Sisters of the Franciscan Order of the Immaculate Conception, killed out of hatred for the faith, during the religious persecution that occurred between 1936 and 1939. Like the prudent Virgins, these cloistered nuns attested with heroic faith the coming of the Divine Bridegroom. Their martyrdom is an invitation to all of us to be strong and perseverant, especially in the hour of trial. Let us greet the new Blesseds with applause!
My greeting goes to you, Romans and pilgrims, in particular, those that have come from Brazil, the Island of Guam (United States of America) and the pilgrimage of Liverpool, organized by the Sisters of Our Lady of Namur.
I greet the faithful of Salerno, Crotone and Lanciano.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’ forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye![Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]