Index

02/08/2020-13:05

Jim Fair

Pope Francis: A Commentary on the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes

Pope Francis in his August 2, 2020, Angelus commentary before the faithful in St. Peter’s Square – and broadcast around the world – recalled the famous gospel for the day, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes from the 14th’ chapter of Matthew.

As the Pope pointed out, the disciples were practical men and would have sent the gathered crowds of the Lord’s followers off to town to find food. Of course, Jesus had a different plan. He had the disciples bring the few loaves and fishes they had to him.

“He takes the food in His hands, raises His eyes heavenward, recites the blessing, and begins to break it and give the pieces to the disciples to hand out,” the Pope recounted. “And those loaves and fish did not run out; there was enough, and plenty left over for thousands of people.

“With this gesture, Jesus demonstrates His power; not in a spectacular way but as a sign of charity, of God the Father’s generosity toward His weary and needy children. He is immersed in the life of His people, He understands their fatigue and their limitations, but He does not allow anyone to be lost, or to lose out: He nourishes them with His word and provides food in plenty for sustenance.”

Following is the Holy Father’s full commentary, provided by the Vatican:

Dear brothers and sisters, good day!

This Sunday’s Gospel presents to us the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves (see Mt 14,13-21). The scene takes place in a deserted place, where Jesus had retired with His disciples. But the people found Him so as to listen to Him and to be healed: indeed, His words and His gestures restore and bring hope. At sundown, the crowd was still present and the disciples, practical men, invited Jesus to send them away so that they could go and find something to eat. But He answered: “You give them something to eat” (v. 16). We can imagine the disciples’ faces! Jesus was well aware of what He was about to do, but He wanted to change their attitude: not to say, “send them away,” “let them fend for themselves”, “let them find something to eat”, but rather, “what does Providence offer us to share?” These are two opposite ways of behaving. And Jesus wants to bring them to the second way of behaving because the first proposal is that of the practical person, but is not generous: “send them away so they can go and find, let them fend for themselves.” Jesus thinks another way. Jesus wants to use this situation to educate His friends, both then and now, about God’s logic. And what is God’s logic that we see here? The logic of taking responsibility for others. The logic of not washing one’s hands, the logic of not looking the other way. No. The logic of taking responsibility for others. That “let them fend for themselves” should not enter into the Christian vocabulary.

As soon as one of the Twelve says, realistically, “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish”, Jesus answers, “Bring them here to me” (vv. 17-18). He takes the food in His hands, raises His eyes heavenward, recites the blessing, and begins to break it and give the pieces to the disciples to hand out. And those loaves and fish did not run out; there was enough, and plenty left over for thousands of people.

With this gesture, Jesus demonstrates His power; not in a spectacular way but as a sign of charity, of God the Father’s generosity toward His weary and needy children. He is immersed in the life of His people, He understands their fatigue and their limitations, but He does not allow anyone to be lost, or to lose out: He nourishes them with His word and provides food in plenty for sustenance.

In this Gospel passage, we can perceive a reference to the Eucharist, especially in the description of the blessing, the breaking of the bread, delivery to the disciples, and distribution to the people (v. 19). It is noteworthy how close the link is between the Eucharistic bread, nourishment for eternal life, and daily bread, necessary for earthly life. Before offering Himself to the Father as the Bread of salvation, Jesus ensures there is food for those who follow Him and who, in order to be with Him, forgot to make provisions. At times the spiritual and the material are in opposition, but in reality spiritualism, like materialism, is alien to the Bible. It is not biblical language.

The compassion and tenderness that Jesus showed towards the crowds is not sentimentality, but rather the concrete manifestation of the love that cares for the people’s needs. And we are called to approach the Eucharistic table with these same attitudes of Jesus: compassion for the needs of others, this word that is repeated in the Gospel when Jesus sees a problem, an illness or these people without food… “He had compassion.” “He had compassion”. Compassion is not a purely material feeling; true compassion is patire con [to suffer with], to take others’ sorrows on ourselves. Perhaps it would do us good today to ask ourselves: Do I feel compassion when I read news about war, about hunger, about the pandemic? So many things… Do I feel compassion toward those people? Do I feel compassion toward the people who are near to me? Am I capable of suffering with them, or do I look the other way, or “they can fend for themselves”? Let us not forget this word “compassion,” which is trust in the provident love of the Father, and means courageous sharing.

May Mary Most Holy help us to walk the path that the Lord shows us in today’s Gospel. It is the journey of fraternity, which is essential in order to face the poverty and suffering of this world, especially in this tragic moment, and which projects us beyond the world itself because it is a journey that begins with God and returns to God.


After the Angelus the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am thinking of the people of Nicaragua who are suffering because of the attack in the Cathedral of Managua, where an image of Christ that is highly venerated, that has accompanied and sustained the life of the faithful people for centuries, was greatly damaged – almost destroyed. Dear brothers and sisters in Nicaragua, I am near you and am praying for you.

The “Pardon of Assisi” began yesterday and continues until midnight today, the spiritual gift that Saint Francis obtained from God through the intercession of the Virgin Mary. It is a plenary indulgence that may be received by partaking of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist and visiting a parish or Franciscan church, reciting the Creed, the Lord’s prayer and praying for the Pope and his intentions.

The indulgence can also be obtained for a deceased person. How important it is to always put God’s forgiveness, which ‘generates heaven’ in us and around us, back at the center, this pardon that comes from God’s heart who is merciful!

I greet with affection all of you present here today, those of you from Rome – how many – and pilgrims: I see the Alpine people from Palosco there, I greet them! And there are many Brazilians there with their flags. I greet everyone, those devoted to Immaculate Mary who is always present.

And, extending my thoughts to all those who are connected with us, I hope that during this time many will be able to have a few days of rest and contact with nature, in which the spiritual dimension may also be recharged. At the same time I hope that, with the converging commitment of all political and economic leaders, work might resume: families and society cannot continue without work. Let us pray for this. It is and will be a problem in the aftermath of the pandemic: poverty and lack of work. A lot of solidarity and creativity will be needed to resolve this problem.

I wish you all a blessed Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and arrivederci!

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

02/08/2020-13:20

Jim Fair

Pope Proclaims Closeness to Faithful of Nicaragua After Crucifix Burned

Pope Francis offered prayers on August 2 for the faithful of Nicaragua following the damaging on July 31, of the crucifix in the Cathedral of Managua.

The Holy Father’s expression of closeness came after praying the noonday Angelus with the “socially distanced” crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“I am thinking of the people of Nicaragua who are suffering because of the attack in the Cathedral of Managua, where an image of Christ that is highly venerated, that has accompanied and sustained the life of the faithful people for centuries, was greatly damaged – almost destroyed.,” Pope Francis said. “Dear brothers and sisters in Nicaragua, I am near you and am praying for you.”

On Friday, an unknown attacker entered Managua’s Cathedral and threw a Molotov cocktail at a 400-year-old crucifix, which went up in flames, according to Vatican News.

Firemen brought the blaze under control fairly quickly, and there were no injuries.

The Archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes, called the incident “an act of terrorism.”

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Managua said the attack was “deplorable” and “offends and deeply wounds” all Catholics in Nicaragua.

Vatican News recalled that Pope St. John Paul II visited the Cathedral and prayed before the now-destroyed crucifix in February 1996.

At the time, he urged Nicaraguans not to waver in their faith “when the fatigue, loneliness, or incomprehension of others seeks to diminish your enthusiasm.”

“Do not doubt that you are loved by the Lord and that His love always precedes and accompanies you. His victory serves as a guarantee of ours!” said the Polish Pope.

02/08/2020-13:47

ZENIT Staff

Pope Invites All to Receive ‘Pardon of Assisi’

You may still have this to receive the plenary indulgence known as the “Pardon of Assisi”. Pope Francis urged everyone to take advantage of this opportunity in comments following Sunday’s Angelus in St. Peter’s Square.

“The ‘Pardon of Assisi’ began yesterday and continues until midnight today, the spiritual gift that Saint Francis obtained from God through the intercession of the Virgin Mary,” Pope Francis pointed out. “It is a plenary indulgence that may be received by partaking of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist and visiting a parish or Franciscan church, reciting the Creed, the Lord’s prayer and praying for the Pope and his intentions.

“The indulgence can also be obtained for a deceased person. How important it is to always put God’s forgiveness, which ‘generates heaven’ in us and around us, back at the center, this pardon that comes from God’s heart who is merciful!”

02/08/2020-14:47

ZENIT Staff

Pope Names New Personal Secretary

Pope Francis has asked Father Fabio Salerno to become one of his personal secretaries, reported Vatican News. He is currently working in the Section for Relations with States in the Vatican Secretariat of State.

He replaces Coptic Catholic Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, who concluded his service to the Holy Father on July 31.

Responding to questions from journalists, Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office, confirmed the news on Saturday. He explained that as is the case in other curial roles, so too in this case, “a normal turnover of roles”, as desired by Pope Francis, is taking place.

Bruni also said Msgr Gaid “will continue his current role as a Member of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity”. The Committee promotes the implementation of the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”, signed in February 2019 by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb.

Father Fabio Salerno was born in 1979 in Catanzaro in Italy and was ordained a priest in 2011 for the Archdiocese of Catanzaro-Squillace. He holds a doctorate from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

After going through the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, he served as secretary in the Apostolic Nunciature in Indonesia and at the Holy See’s Permanent Mission to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Father Gonzalo Aemilius, who began service as one of Pope Francis’s secretaries in January substituting Msgr Fabián Pedacchio Leániz, will introduce Father Salerno to his new role.

02/08/2020-15:07

ZENIT Staff

Second Filipino Bishop Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Now there are two.

Another Filipino Catholic bishop has tested positive for coronavirus disease, the Diocese of Kalookan announced Sunday, reported CBCP News.

Retired Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez of Kalookan has tested positive of Covid-19 and is receiving treatment at a hospital.

His successor, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, made the announcement during his Mass at the San Roque Cathedral today.

“May the Lord grant his healing grace to our beloved bishop and all the people affected by the disease,” Bishop David said.

The bishop emeritus, he added, is “in the hospital under isolation”. No other details were provided.

Bishop Iñiguez, 79, is the second prelate to test positive after Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the administrator of the Manila archdiocese.

Bishop Pabillo on July 23 announced that he will go under quarantine until he recovered from the virus infection. At this time, he remains asymptomatic.