Compassion, Sharing and the Eucharist: this is the path that “leads us to face the fellowship the needs of this world.” This was the reflection given by Pope Francis during his address prior to the recitation of the Angelus today to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Thousands of pilgrims braved the rainy weather in Rome to listen to the Holy Father speak at his weekly address. The Pope reflected on Sunday’s Gospel according to St. Mark, which recalled the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. The miracle performed by Christ, he said, highlights three messages: compassion, sharing and the Eucharist.
Regarding compassion, the Pope said that though the crowds followed Jesus, who retired to an isolated place after the death of John the Baptist, Christ did not react with irritation.
“[Jesus] doesn’t say, “But these people bother me!” No, No. He reacts with a feeling of compassion, because He knows that they do not seek him out of curiosity, but out of need,” the Pope said.
“But beware: compassion, that which Jesus feels, is not simply to feel pity. It is much more! It means sympathy, that is, to empathize with the suffering of others to the point of taking it upon oneself! That is how Jesus is! He suffers together with us, He suffers with us, He suffers for us.”
The Holy Father went on to say that the numerous healings performed by Jesus were a sign of this compassion. Through this, he noted, Jesus teaches us to place the needs of those less fortunate before our own needs. The Pope called on the faithful to reflect on the needs of the poor when considering our own needs.
“Our needs,” he said, “even if legitimate, will never be as urgent as those of the poor, who lack the necessities to live on.”
Drawing from the second message of the Gospel, sharing, the 77 year old Pontiff compared Jesus’ reaction to the hunger of the people to that of the disciples. In the Gospel, when seeing that it was late, the disciples ask Christ to “dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus, instead, tells the disciples to “give them some food yourselves.”
The Pope noted that their reactions reflect two opposing logics. “The disciples reason according to the world, through which everyone must think of themselves. They react as if to say: ‘Fend for yourselves!’” he said.
“Jesus thinks instead according to the logic of God, which is that of sharing. How many times, we turn the other side so as not to see the brothers in need. And this, looking the other way, is a polite way of say with white gloves on: ‘Fend for yourselves.’ And this is not of Jesus. This is selfishness!”
The Holy Father also stressed to the faithful that the miracle of the loaves and fishes was “not a magic trick” but rather a sign that invites all to trust in the providence of God and “share it as brothers.”
The final message that the Gospel presents, the Pope told the pilgrims, was that the miracle foretold the Eucharist, where through His sacrifice, Christ “offers Himself to the Father out of love for us.” In going to the Eucharist, the Pope said that it was important to go with the spirit of compassion and sharing shown by Jesus in the Gospel.
“Whoever goes to the Eucharist without having compassion for the needy and without sharing, is not well with Jesus,” he said.
Concluding his address, Pope Francis said that these three messages not only lead us to the fellowship needed in this world, but also leads us to God. “May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Divine Providence, accompany us on this journey,” the Pope concluded before reciting the Angelus prayer.