Seek Jesus before material things, pope says

By Hannah Brockhaus

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Pope Francis at the general audience May 23, 2018. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/EWTN.

It is not wrong to be concerned with the daily necessities of life, but strengthening one’s relationship with Jesus is of far greater importance, Pope Francis said in his Sunday Angelus address.

“The Lord invites us not to forget that if we need to worry about material bread, it is even more important to cultivate our relationship with him, to strengthen our faith in him, who is the ‘bread of life,’ come to satisfy our hunger for truth, our hunger for justice, our hunger for love,” the pope said Aug. 5.

He reflected on the day’s Gospel passage, in which a crowd of people are searching for Jesus and his disciples after the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. When they find him, Jesus says to the crowd: “You are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.”

In giving this answer, Jesus shows that “it is not enough that people search for him, he wants people to know him,” Francis said. Jesus wants “the encounter with him to go beyond the immediate satisfaction of material needs.”

This is because “Jesus came to bring us something more” than the daily preoccupations of feeding and clothing ourselves, our careers, and so on, he said.

“In fact,” he added, “the multiplication of the loaves and of the fish is a sign of the great gift that the Father has given to humanity and that is Jesus himself!”

Being the true “Bread of Life,” Jesus wants to satisfy not just bodies, but souls, “giving the spiritual food that can satisfy the deepest hunger,” he continued. So, he invites the crowd of people to search not for material food, but for the food that lasts: his Word, his Body, and his Blood.

In the Gospels, the crowd then asks Jesus what it is they must do to carry out the work of God, and Jesus answers them: “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

“These words are addressed, today, also to us,” Francis said. “The work of God does not consist so much in the ‘doing’ of things, but in ‘believing’ in the One he has sent.”

It is a Catholic’s faith in Jesus which “allows us to do the works of God,” he continued. “If we allow ourselves to be involved in this relationship of love and trust with Jesus, we will be able to do good works that smell of the Gospel, for the good and the needs of [our] brothers.”

After praying the Angelus, the pope noted that Monday, Aug. 6, marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Bl. Pope Paul VI, who will be canonized in Rome Oct. 14.

“We remember him with much veneration and gratitude… From heaven may he intercede for the Church and for peace in the world,” he said. Adding that the soon-to-be saint was a “great pope of modernity,” he encouraged those gathered to applaud in gratitude.

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