VATICAN CITY — The multiplication of the loaves and fish highlights our need to share our faith with others as part of a conversion to a deeper unity with Christ, Pope Francis said.
“The feast of Corpus Christi asks us to convert to faith in Providence, to share the little that we are and that we have, and to not ever close ourselves in,” said Pope Francis June 2.
During his Sunday Angelus address on the feast of Corpus Christi, which celebrates the institution of the Eucharist, Pope Francis reflected on Jesus' multiplication of the fish and loaves found in Luke 9.
Something that “always strikes me and makes me think,” the Holy Father said of the Gospel passage, is the way that Jesus involves his disciples in the process of feeding the multitudes.
When the crowds who had followed Jesus to the Sea of Galilee became hungry, he says to his disciples, “You give them something to eat,” the Pope said.
“The disciples are baffled and they said, 'We have only five loaves and two fish,' as if to say, 'Just enough for us,'” he added.
The Holy Father explained that Jesus “knows what to do but wants to involve his disciples.
According to him, the disciples seek a “realistic solution” by wanting to send the people away to find their own food.
“Jesus' attitude is distinctly different and is dictated by the union with the Father and compassion for the people, but also by the desire to give a message to the disciples,” the Pope said.
“With those five loaves, Jesus thinks, 'Here is Providence!' — and from this little God can satisfy everyone's needs,” he remarked.
The Pope noted “Jesus totally trusts the heavenly Father and knows that in him all things are possible.”
He stated that when Jesus asked his disciples to sit with the people in groups of 50, this was “not accidental” and that it meant they “become a community” and no longer simply a crowd.
Pope Francis explained how then Jesus took the loaves and fishes and raised his eyes to heaven, adding that this “is a clear reference to the Eucharist.”
“He begins to give it to the disciples, and the disciples distribute the bread and fish and do not stop!” he exclaimed.
“Here's the miracle: that it is more a sharing than a multiplying, animated from faith and prayer,” said the Pope.
He underscored that it “is the sign of Jesus, the bread of God for humanity.”
Pope Francis also took time to pray for the victims of the conflict in Syria, especially the civilians and the victims of kidnappings.
“My concern is always alive( for the suffering) at the persistence of the conflict, which, for more than two years, inflames Syria and affects especially the civilian population, who aspires to peace in justice and understanding.”
He said, “This troubled war situation brings with it tragic consequences: death, destruction, massive economic and environmental damage, as well as the scourge of kidnapping,” he said.
He assured those kidnapped and their families of his prayers and sympathy and asked their captors to have “humanity” and to release the victims.