Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20, 2014 Friday: 11th Week of Ordinary Time A

"The Eucharist is the sacrament of the communion that takes us out of our individualism so that together we live our discipleship, our faith in him," Pope Francis said.

The pope said he is "always struck" by the disciples asking Jesus to send the crowd away to find food and lodging and Jesus telling him, "Give them some food yourselves."

"In the face of the crowd's needs, this is the disciples' solution: Everyone takes care of himself; dismiss the crowd," the pope said. "Many times we Christians have that same temptation; we don't take on the needs of others, but dismiss them with a compassionate 'May God help you' or a not-so-compassionate 'Good luck.'"

Jesus' solution, though, was to ask God's blessing on the little food available, then to have the disciples share it with crowd, he said.

"It is a moment of profound communion: the crowd quenched by the word of the Lord is now nourished by his bread of life, and all had their fill."

What Jesus encouraged the disciples to do was an act of "solidarity," he said, which is nothing other than "placing at God's disposal what little we have, our humble abilities, because only in sharing and in giving will our lives be fruitful."

In the Eucharist, the pope said, Catholics experience the "solidarity of God," a solidarity that can never be exhausted and should never stop causing awe.

"Once again this evening, Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist, shares our journey and, in fact, makes himself the food that sustains our lives, even when the road gets rough and obstacles slow our steps," Pope Francis said.

At the same time, he said, in receiving the Eucharist faithfully "the Lord leads us to follow his path -- that of service, sharing and giving; and that little that we have, the little that we are, if shared, becomes a treasure because the power of God, who is love, descends to our poverty and transforms it."

Pope Francis, Corpus Christi procession, 2013