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Pope Francis greets faithful during the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square

ANSA - FABIO FRUSTACI

Pope Francis at Angelus: Not Only Do We Meet Christ in Eucharist, But in Everyday Life

Says Eating Bread of Life Calls Us to Transform Our Lives as a Gift

Not only does a Christian meet Christ in the Eucharist, but also in his daily life. This was a reflection made by Pope Francis during his weekly Angelus address this Sunday. Speaking to crowds in a sunny Saint Peter’s Square this morning, the Pope focused on the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – or Corpus Christi – celebrated in many parishes this Sunday.

Recalling today’s Gospel, Francis noted how St. Mark tells of Christ instituting the Eucharist at the Last Supper.  That evening, Jesus said whoever eats this bread will live forever and offers the Apostles His body, the 78-year-old Jesuit Pontiff recalled.

“With this gesture, and with these words, He gives bread a function that is no longer simply that of simple physical nourishment, but to make this His person in the midst of the community of believers,” Francis said.

The solemnity of Corpus Domini, the Holy Father underscored, not only evokes a message of solidarity, but “encourages us to embrace the intimate call to conversion to service, to love, and to forgiveness.”
 
“Christ, who nourishes us under the consecrated species of bread and wine, is the same Christ, whom we meet during the course of everyday life: He is in the poor person who holds out his hand [in supplication]; He is the suffering person who implores [our] help; He is in the brother or sister who asks us to be there and awaits our welcome; He is in the child who knows nothing about Jesus, about salvation, who does not have the faith; He is in every human being, even the smallest and most defenseless.”

“It encourages us,” he said, “to become in our life, imitators of what we celebrate in the liturgy.”

When we take and eat the Bread, Francis said, “we are being associated with the life of Jesus, we enter into communion with Him, we are committed to achieve communion among ourselves, to transform our life as a gift, especially to the poorest.”

“Today’s Feast evokes this message of solidarity and encourages us to embrace the intimate call to conversion and to serve, to love and forgiveness.”

Not only is the Eucharist a source of love for the life of the Church, he noted, but also “a school of charity and solidarity. Those who eat the Bread of Christ can not remain indifferent before those who do not have daily bread. And today, we know, is a growing problem.”

The feast of Corpus Christi, the Holy Father prayed, should inspire us to promote a more welcoming and supportive society, so we can better witness God’s infinite love.

Sarajevo

Following the recitation of the midday prayer, the Pope recalled his Apostolic Visit yesterday to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying he went there “as a pilgrim of peace and hope.”

For centuries, Sarajevo has been a place of coexistence between peoples and religions, as to be called the “Jerusalem of the West,” he noted, but “in the recent past, it has become a symbol of the destruction of war.”

A reason for his visit, Francis said, was to “encourage this path of peaceful coexistence between different peoples; a strenuous walk, difficult, but possible! And they are doing well.”

“I renew my gratitude to the authorities and all the citizens for the warm welcome. I thank the dear Catholic community, to which I wanted to bring the love of the universal Church and in particular I thank also all the faithful: Orthodox, Muslims, Jews and those of other religious minorities. I appreciate the commitment to collaboration and solidarity between these people who belong to different religions, urging all to continue the work of spiritual and moral reconstruction of society. They work together as true brothers. May the Lord bless Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

The Pontiff also mentioned that this Friday is the World Day Against Child Labor.

“Many children in the world do not have the freedom to play, to go to school, and end up being exploited as cheap labor,” he said, urging the international community to continue promoting active recognition of children’s rights.

The Holy Father concluded, wishing those gathered a good Sunday, good lunch, and asking them to pray for him.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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