Pope Francis on Sunday reminded believers that the Lord, who is present in the Eucharist, takes each and everyone of us to heart, cares for us and satisfies our need for nourishment, companionship, consolation.
Addressing pilgrims gathered for the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope noted that on this Sunday, 19 June, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated in Italy and in other countries.
“Instituted during the Last Supper,” he explained, “the Eucharist was like the destination of a journey along which Jesus had prefigured it through several signs, above all the multiplication of the loaves” narrated in the Gospel according to Luke ( Lk. 9:11b-17).
Everyone can experience the Lord’s loving attention
He recalled how Jesus took care of the huge crowd that had followed him to listen to his word and to be freed from various evils, and of how “He blesses five loaves and two fish, breaks them, the disciples distribute them, and “they all ate and were satisfied.”
In the Eucharist, the Pope said, “everyone can experience this loving and concrete attention of the Lord.”
Jesus takes care of everything
Pope Francis reflected on how the miracle of the loaves and fish does not happen in a spectacular way, but almost secretly, “the bread increases as it passes from hand to hand.”
As the crowd eats, he said, they realize that Jesus is taking care of everything: “This is the Lord present in the Eucharist.”
The Eucharist is not distant to everyday life
The Pope said that “sometimes there is the risk of confining the Eucharist to a vague dimension, perhaps bright and perfumed with incense, but rather distant from the straits of everyday life,” but in reality, he explained, “the Lord takes all our needs to heart, beginning with the most basic.”
The Pope said there is hunger for food around us, but also of companionship, consolation, friendship, good humour, attention.
“We find this in the Eucharistic Bread – the attention of Christ to our needs and the invitation to do the same toward those who are beside us. We need to eat and feed others,” he said.
In the Eucharist is His life given for each of us
Pope Francis went on to explain that “In addition to eating, however, we cannot forget being satisfied.”
He said not only we need to nourish ourselves, “we also need to be satisfied, to know that the nourishment is given to us out of love.”
Jesus, he continued, not only gives us help to go forward, but he gives us himself: “he makes himself our traveling companion, he enters into our affairs, he visits us when we are lonely, giving us back a sense of enthusiasm.”
“This,” the Pope said, “satisfies us, this gives us that “more” that everyone is looking for – the presence of the Lord! For in the warmth of his presence, our lives change. Without him, everything would truly be grey.”