Pope Francis took part yesterday in the annual procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of Rome for the feast of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) which is still celebrated in the Diocese of Rome on its traditional Thursday. In his homily for the feast day at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis said that solidarity is not a popular word in our day and time, but in focusing on the Gospel reading of the feeding of the five thousand, Christ is calling on us to live a life of solidarity both with him and with others. A keyword that we need not fear is ‘solidarity,’ that is, knowing how to make available to God what we have, our humble capacity, because only in the gift of sharing our lives will we be fruitful,” the Pope preached.
“Jesus speaks in silence in the mystery of the Eucharist and each time reminds us that following him means to come out of ourselves and not make our life our possession, but a gift to him and to others,” Francis said, “this evening we are the crowd of the Gospel, we also strive to follow Jesus to listen to him, to enter into communion with him in the Eucharist, to accompany him and find why he accompanies us.” The Holy Father underscored Church teaching that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ when he reminded the faithful that Holy Communion is “real food that sustains our life even at times when the going gets tough and when the obstacles slow down our steps.” The Pope challenged the congregants “let us ask ourselves, ‘how do I follow Jesus?’”
Pope Francis said that Jesus showed solidarity with the crowds, rather than everyone looking after merely their own needs, when we see Jesus reject the idea that the crowds should go away. “The invitation that Jesus makes to his disciples to feed the multitude themselves is based on two elements. First, the crowd who followed Jesus, is in an open space, away from inhabited areas, while evening comes,” but the Lord’s response is also something of a rebuke of “the concern of the disciples who ask Jesus to send the crowd away to go into neighboring countries to find food and lodging. Everyone thinks about himself.” The Pope then asked “how many times do we, Christians, have this temptation!” Francis called the moment that Christ multiplied the loaves and fishes “a moment of deep communion,” saying, “the crowd, quenched by the word of the Lord, is now nourished by the bread of his life and they were all satisfied. The Lord in the Eucharist makes us follow his path, that of service, of sharing, of giving, and what little we have, what little we are, becomes wealth if shared, because the power of God, which is that of love, comes down upon our poverty to transform it,” the Pope proclaimed.
Many countries around the world, including the United States, long ago transferred the feast of Corpus Christi to the Sunday following the Trinity Sunday.