Benedict XVI tells pilgrims that Jesus was setting an example when he miraculously multiplied loaves and fishes

When Jesus fed the multitudes by miraculously multiplying loaves and fishes, he gave his disciples an example to follow, Pope Benedict XVI has said.

Commenting on the Sunday Gospel passage, the Pope said it was natural to read the story of Jesus’s miracle and think of “our many brothers and sisters who, in these days, in the Horn of Africa, suffer from famine aggravated by war and the lack of solid institutions”.

Praying the Angelus with about 3,000 people gathered in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope said Jesus set an example of meeting material needs while also addressing the deeper hungers of the human heart.

“The love of God is present in the bread of Christ; encountering him, we feed on the living God, so to speak, and we truly eat the bread come down from heaven,” the Pope said.

“In the Eucharist, Jesus makes us witnesses to God’s compassion for every brother and sister,” the Pope said.

He prayed that people would open their hearts with compassion for their neighbours and would share with those in need.

Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, reported that Catholic charities are deeply involved in meeting the needs of people suffering from the famine in Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Kenya.

Suzanna Tkalec, who works for the US bishops’ Catholic Relief Services, is assisting Bishop Giorgio Bertin of Djibouti and Somalia.

She told Fides that they were working in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya about 50 miles from the Somali border.

“On average, 2,500 people arrive at this camp every day; 80 per cent are mothers with young children,” she said.