This Sunday’s Gospel (Jn. 6, 1-15) presents the great sign of the multiplication of the loaves, in the narration of John the evangelist.
Jesus finds himself on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and is surrounded by a “large crowd”. drawn by the “signs he was performing on the sick” (v. 2). In Him, the merciful power of God acts, that heals every ill of the body and spirit. But Jesus is not only a healer, He is also a teacher: in fact he goes up on the mountain and he sits, the typical behavior of teacher when He teaches: He goes up on that natural “cathedra” created by His Heavenly Father. At this point, Jesus, who knows well what He is about to do, He put His disciples to the test. What should be done to feed all those people? Philip, one of the Twelve, makes a quick calculation: organizing a collection, a maximum of 200 denari can be gathered to buy bread, that still would not be enough to feed 5,000 people.
The disciples reason in “market” terms, but Jesus substitutes the logic of buying with another logic: the logic of giving. There are two types of logic: that of buying and that of giving. And it is there that Andrew, another one of the Apostles, brother of Simon Peter, presents a boy who is willing to give all that he has: 5 loaves and 2 fishes; but surely – Andrew says – they are nothing for so many. (cfr v. 9) But Jesus waited precisely for this. He orders His disciples to have the people sit, then takes those loaves and those fishes, he gives thanks to the Father and distributes them (cfr v. 11). These gestures anticipate those of the Last Supper, that give Jesus’ bread its most profound and truest meaning. The bread of God is Jesus Himself. Making Communion with Him, we receive His life in us and we become children of the Heavenly Father and brothers among us. To participate in the Eucharist means to enter inro Jesus’ logic, the logic of gratefulness, of sharing. And as much as we are poor, we can all give something. “To Make Communion” means also to draw from Christ the grace that enables us to share with others that which we are and what we have.
The crowd is struck by the wonder of the multiplication of the loaves; but the gift that Jesus offers is the fullness of life for the hungry man. Jesus not only satisfies material hunger, but the most profound one, the hunger of the meaning of life, the hunger of God. In front of suffering, loneliness, poverty and the difficulties of so many people, what can we do? Complaining does not resolve anything, but we can offer that little that we have like that boy. We surely have some time, some kind of talent, some kind of expertise. Who among us does not have their “five loaves and two fishes”? We all have it! If we are willing to place it in the Lord’s hands, it would be enough so that in the world there would be a bit more love, of peace, of justice and above all, of joy. How much we are in need of joy in the world! God is capable of multiplying our little gestures of solidarity and make us participants of His gift.
Our prayer supports the common commitment so that the Bread of Heaven lacks for no one, that gives eternal life and what is necessary for a dignified life, and it confirms the logic of sharing and love. May the Virgin Mary accompany us with Her maternal intercession.
After the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father said the following:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today the registration for the 31st World Youth Day opens, which will take place next year in Poland. I myself wanted to open the registrations. And for this reason, I have a young man and a young woman here near me so that they can be with me in the moment of opening the registration here in front of you. There, I am registered! Through this electronic device I have registered as a pilgrim to this day. Celebrated during the Year of Mercy, this Day will be, in a certain sense, a jubilee of the youth, called to reflect on the theme: “Blessed on the merciful, for they will find mercy” (Mt. 5,7). I invite the youth of the whole world to lives this pilgrimage be it by going to Krakow, or participating in this moment of grace in their own communities.
In a few days, we will mark the second anniversary since, in Syria, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio was kidnapped. I make a heartfelt and urgent appeal for the freedom of this esteemed religious man. I can’t also forget the Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Syria and all the other people who, in areas of conflict, have been seized. I hope for a renewed commitment by the competent local and international authorities, so that these our brothers will soon be restored to freedom. With affection and participation in their suffering, we wish to remember them in prayer. And let us pray all together the prayer: Hail Mary…
I greet all of you, pilgrims from Italy and other countries. I greet the participants of the International Pilgrimage of the Sisters of Saint Felice, the faithful of Salamanca, the youth of Brescia (Italy) who are serving at the soup kitchen of Caritas in Rome, and the youth of Ponte San Giovanni (Perugia).
Today, the Church remembers Saint Joachim and Saint Ann, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and thus, the grandparents of Jesus! On this occasion I would like to greet all the grandmothers and grandfathers, thanking them for their presence in the families and for the new generations. For all the grandparents who are living, but also for those who are looking at us from heaven, let us greet them and give them a good applause.
To all I wish a good Sunday. And do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch. Goodbye!