July 29 (UPI) — Pope Francis encouraged crowds at St. Peter’s Square to not be wasteful and indifferent in the face of “the world’s cry of hunger” on Sunday.
The pope reflected on the morning’s Gospel reading, which focused on the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with five fish and two loaves of bread as he called on the crowd at the Vatican City to be attentive of the needs of the hungry and the poor.
“Faced with the cry of hunger — all sorts of ‘hunger’ — of so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we cannot remain detached and calm spectators,” Francis said. “The proclamation of Christ, the bread of eternal life, requires a generous commitment of solidarity for the poor, the weak, the last, and the defenseless. This action of proximity and charity is the best test of our faith, both at the personal level, and as a community.”
Francis also delivered a literal version of the message, urging those in the crowd not to waste their food and to consult with their “grandparents who lived through the post-war period” about what they do with their leftover food.
“At home, what do you do with left-over food? Do you throw it away?” he said. “Never throw away left-over food. Reuse it or give it to those who can eat it, to those who need it.”
He added that Jesus was “attentive to the primary needs of people” and didn’t limit himself to fulfilling their physical hunger.
“He offered his Word, his consolation, his salvation, and finally his life,” Francis said.
Francis instructed the crowd to reflect on the courage of the young man who offered his food to Jesus and to foster that courage in today’s youth.
“This boy makes us think … that courage … young people are like that, they have courage. We must help them carry on this courage,” he said.