Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square, beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace, for the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis focused his remarks ahead of the traditional Marian devotion on the Gospel reading of the day, which was in Italy and many countries around the world, that of the Feast of Corpus Domini or Corpus Christi – the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ – the great Eucharistic feast instituted in the 13th century for the entire Latin Church.
“[The solemnity of Corpus Domini] evokes this message of solidarity and encourages us to embrace the intimate call to conversion to service, to love, and to forgiveness,” said Pope Francis. “It encourages us to become in our life, imitators of what we celebrate in the liturgy,” he explained. “Christ, who nourishes us under the consecrated species of bread and wine, is the same Christ, whom we meet during the course of everyday life: He is in the poor person who holds out his hand [in supplication]; He is the suffering person who implores [our] help; He is in the brother or sister who asks us to be there and awaits our welcome; He is in the child who knows nothing about Jesus, about salvation, who does not have the faith; He is in every human being, even the smallest and most defenseless.”
Indeed, following the Angelus, the rights of children to life, to education, to safe environments for play, were the subject of Pope Francis’ expressions of support for the World Day against Child Labor, to be marked this coming Friday. “Many children in the world do not have the freedom to play, to go to school, and end up being exploited as cheap labor,” he said, adding, “I hope the international community will remain attentively and steadfastly committed to the active promotion and effective recognition of children’s rights.”
Pope Francis also looked forward to the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, which will be celebrated this coming Friday as well. “[On] the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us think of the love of Jesus, of how He has loved us,” said the Holy Father.
The light of the Gospel guides all who put themselves at the service of the civilization of love.