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The needs of the poor

· At the Angelus the Pope recalls that the logic of God is that of sharing ·

Looking away from the poor is “a polite way” of saying: “Sort it out for yourselves”. Pope Francis doesn't mince words in warning Christians of the danger of becoming accustomed to worldly logic, according to which “each person must take care of himself” and placing one's own needs ahead of those who are in greater need. But “this is not of Jesus: this is selfishness”, he recalled at the Angelus on Sunday, 3 August, in St Peter's Square, commenting on the Gospel reading on the multiplication of the loaves and the fish.

An event from which the Pontiff gathered “three messages”. First of all that of compassion, witnessed in the attitude of Jesus who, with regard to the crowd, did not react with annoyance but by empathizing “with the suffering of others, to the point of taking it upon himself”. In this way he teaches us to be aware that “our needs, even if legitimate, are not as urgent as those of the poor”. Those who, the Bishop of Rome admonished, “do not have life's basic necessities, they don’t have food, they don’t have clothing, they can’t afford medicine”.

Then comes the second message: sharing. Francis noted that whereas the disciples advise that the crowd be sent away “to buy food for themselves”, Jesus “reasons with God’s logic, which is that of sharing”. And he asks them to feed the people “those few loaves and fish” which, “shared and blessed by God, were enough for everyone”. A miracle which “isn’t magic, it’s a 'sign': a sign that calls for faith in God, provident Father, who does not let us go without 'our daily bread', if we know how to share it as brothers”.

Finally, the message of the Eucharist, foreshadowed by the miracle of the loaves. The blessing which precedes the distribution to the people, the Pontiff observed, “is the same gesture that Jesus makes at the Last Supper, when he establishes the perpetual memorial of his Redeeming Sacrifice”. In the Eucharist Jesus does not give “just any bread”, but the bread of eternal life, offering “Himself to the Father out of love for us”. And we too, the Pope concluded, “must go to the Eucharist with those sentiments of Jesus, which are compassion and that will to share”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 21, 2018

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