The Eucharist Teaches Us to Care for the Weakest of Society, Pope Francis Says
The Holy Father said in his June 7 Angelus address, ‘Whoever is nourished by the Bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent to those who do not have bread.’
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said the Eucharist is a “school of solidarity and charity,” which inspires us to care for the most vulnerable.
This solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Holy Father said in his Angelus address Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, “evokes this message of solidarity and pushes us to welcome the intimate invitation to conversion and to service, to love and to forgiveness.”
In our daily lives, we encounter Christ, who nourishes us in the Eucharist, in the poor, the suffering, our brothers and “in every human being, even the smallest and most defenseless.”
The Holy Father reflected on the feast’s Gospel, which recounts the institution of the Eucharist during Christ’s Last Supper before his crucifixion.
That night, Christ said that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood will “remain in me and I in him” and will have eternal life.
“With this gesture and with these words, he gives bread a function that is no longer simply physical nourishment, but that which makes present his Person amid the community of believers.”
The Pope added that the Last Supper marks the end of Christ’s life, looking ahead to his death on the cross, but also to the synthesis of “a life offered for the salvation of humanity.”
For this reason, it is not enough to affirm Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, the Pope said, but recognize it as “the presence of a life given and take part.”
By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, taking part in his life and entering into communion with him, we in turn are called to promote unity among ourselves, transforming “our life into a gift,” especially to a poor.
The Eucharist is a “school of charity and solidarity,” the Pope said. “Whoever is nourished by the Bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent to those who do not have bread daily.”
Despite efforts by the international community, this is an increasing problem and requires proposals to resolve its causes, he said.
The Pope concluded his address by invoking the intercession of Mary, that she may “awaken in everyone the joy in participating in the Mass, especially on Sunday, and the joyful courage to give witness to the charity of Christ.”
After leading the crowds in the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke of his apostolic visit to Sarajevo the previous day.
Once described as the “Jerusalem of the West,” owing to the coexistence of various peoples and religious, the recent past has made it into a “symbol of destruction and war,” he said.
Acknowledging the efforts toward reconciliation, Pope Francis encouraged “this journey toward a peaceful coexistence between diverse peoples; a hard, difficult, yet possible journey!”
Pope Francis’ visit on Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Agreement, which brought an end to the Bosnian War.
After the breakup of Yugoslavia, some 100,000 combatants and civilians were killed and a million more displaced during the war, which lasted between 1992 and 1995. The fighting split largely along ethnic lines, among the predominantly Orthodox Serbs, the predominantly Catholic Croats and the predominantly Muslim Bosniaks.
The Pope prayed: “May the Lord bless Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.”