With our small offering, Jesus can do great things, just like when he multiplied five loaves and three fishes to feed thousands, Pope Francis said Sunday.
“It would be good to ask ourselves every day: ‘What do I bring to Jesus today?’” the pope said during his weekly Angelus message July 25.
Speaking from a window of the apostolic palace, Francis said Jesus “can do a lot with one of our prayers, with a gesture of charity for others, even with one of our sufferings handed over to His mercy.”
“[We give] our small things to Jesus and he works miracles. This is how God loves to act: He does great things, starting from small, freely-given ones.”
Pope Francis has been convalescing at the Vatican since being released from hospital 10 days after undergoing colon surgery July 4. During July, the pope typically does not hold public audiences or meetings, though he has continued to give his weekly Angelus address.
On Sunday he reflected on the day’s Gospel passage from St. John, which recounts Jesus’ miracle of the multiplication of five loaves and two fishes to feed 5,000 people.
The pope said it is interesting that Jesus does not create the food from nothing; his disciples ask one boy to share everything he has to eat: “It seems to be an unreasonable proposal. Actually, unjust.”
“Why take away from one person what is not enough to feed everyone anyway?” he continued. “In human terms, it is illogical. But not for God. On the contrary, thanks to that small freely-given and therefore heroic gift, Jesus is able to feed everyone.”
“This is a great lesson for us. It tells us that the Lord can do a lot with the little that we put at His disposal,” he underlined.
Francis explained that this is the logic of Jesus Christ, and a quality holy people throughout history have demonstrated.
We often try “to accumulate and increase what we have, but Jesus asks us to give, to diminish,” he said.
Drawing attention to the tragedy of hunger which exists in the world today, he cited calculations which estimate that around the world, 7,000 children under the age of five die every day due to malnutrition.
He said “faced with scandals such as these, Jesus also addresses an invitation to us, an invitation similar to the one probably received by the boy in the Gospel, who has no name and in whom we can all see ourselves.”
The invitation is to “be brave, give what little you have, your talents and your possessions, make them available to Jesus and to your brothers and sisters. Do not be afraid, nothing will be lost, because if you share, God will multiply. Banish the false modesty of feeling inadequate, trust yourself. Believe in love, believe in the power of service, believe in the strength of gratuitousness.”
After praying the Angelus in Latin, Pope Francis recalled that July 25 this year marks the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly.
He asked people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to offer a round of applause for grandparents.
“Grandparents and grandchildren, young and old together manifested one of the beautiful faces of the Church and showed the covenant between the generations,” he said, inviting people to visit the lonely older members of our society.
“I ask the Lord that this celebration will help us who are more advanced in years to respond to his call in this season of life, and to show society the value of the presence of grandparents and the elderly,” he stated.
Noting that the 32nd Olympic Games began in Tokyo on July 23, Pope Francis said “in this time of pandemic, these games are a sign of hope, a sign of universal fraternity in the name of healthy competition.”
“God bless the organizers, the athletes and all who collaborate for this great celebration of sports.”
The pope also expressed his sympathy after a heavy rainfall in Zhengzhou, the capital city of China’s Henan province, caused floods killing at least 33 people last week.
The dramatic floods, which caused landslides and overwhelmed dams, have submerged neighborhoods and trapped passengers in subway cars, according to CNN.
Henan authorities said last week the heavy rains in the province have displaced hundreds of thousands of people and caused an estimated $190 million in economic damage.
Pope Francis said he is praying for the victims and their families and expressed his solidarity with those who are suffering from the tragedy.