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Pope Francis: Jesus in the Eucharist strengthens us in times of trial

Pope Francis: Jesus in the Eucharist strengthens us in times of trial

By Courtney Mares

Jesus does not spare us from difficulties but strengthens us with the Eucharist to have the courage to face them, Pope Francis said in his reflection on Sunday’s Gospel.

Speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace on June 23, Pope Francis asked the crowd gathered below in St. Peter’s Square to reflect on how they usually deal with times of trial.

“When a storm arrives, do I let myself be overwhelmed by the turmoil or do I cling to him … to find calm and peace, in prayer, silence, listening to the Word, adoration, and fraternal sharing of faith?” the pope asked.

Pope Francis urged people to remember that Jesus is always with us to come to our aid, particularly in the Eucharist.

“In the Eucharist, he gathers us around him, he gives us his word, he nourishes with his body and his blood, and then he invites us to set sail, to transmit everything we have heard and to share what we have received with everyone, in everyday life, even when it is difficult,” the pope said.

“Jesus does not spare us contrarieties but, without ever abandoning us, he helps us face them,” Francis added. 

Pilgrims gather in St. Peter’s Square for Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus on June 23, 2024, at the Vatican. Credit: Vatican Media

“So we too, overcoming them with his help, learn more and more to hold onto him, to trust in  his power, which goes far beyond our capacities, to overcome uncertainties and hesitations, closures and preconceptions, and to do this with courage and greatness of heart, to tell everyone that the kingdom of heaven is present, it is here, and that with Jesus at our side we can make it grow together, beyond all barriers.”

Pointing to the Gospel of Mark’s account of Jesus and his disciples being caught in a storm on Lake Tiberias, the pope noted that it was Jesus himself who told the disciples to get on the boat and cross the lake. “Why does he do this?” Pope Francis asked. “To strengthen the faith of the disciples and to make them more courageous.”

“Indeed, the disciples come out of this experience more aware of the power of Jesus and his presence in their midst, and therefore stronger and readier to face other obstacles and difficulties, including the fear of venturing out to proclaim the Gospel,” he said.

“Having overcome this trial with him, they will know how to face many others, even to the cross and martyrdom, to bring the Gospel to all peoples.”

Pope Francis invoked the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who welcomed God’s will with humility and courage, to provide us with the serenity to surrender to God in difficult moments.

After praying the Angelus prayer in Latin with the crowd, Pope Francis greeted the participants in Italy’s March for Life, which drew thousands of people to Rome on Saturday. 

Pilgrims gather in St. Peter’s Square for Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus on June 23, 2024, at the Vatican. Credit: Vatican Media

As the pope offered greetings to the visiting pilgrim groups, Francis pointed out the group in St. Peter’s Square that was holding up an Israeli flag next to a Vatican flag.

Pope Francis said that the Israeli flag was a reminder to pray for peace in Gaza and other parts of the world that are experiencing war and violence. He repeatedly asked people to pray for peace in Palestine and Israel as well as in Ukraine and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The pope also remembered a Franciscan priest in Rome who had served as his confessor, Father Manuel Blanco Rodríguez, who died a few days ago.

“Remembering him,” he said, “I would like to remember the many Franciscan brothers, confessors, and preachers who have honored and continue to honor the Church of Rome.”

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