In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel, John 6:1-15, in which Jesus used five loaves and two fish to feed a large crowd. He noted that the disciples were tired and did not want the crowd to come between them and the Lord. By contrast, Jesus sought to be close to the people and to teach the disciples how to become true pastors.
Celebrating Mass before a small congregation due to the coronavirus pandemic, the pope said that the disciples saw themselves as "a privileged class, 'an aristocracy,' so to speak," but that Jesus repeatedly corrected them.
He gave the examples of when the disciples tried to prevent children from approaching the Lord and he rebuked them (Matthew 19:13-15), and when people on the road to Jericho ordered a blind man to stop crying out "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" (Luke 18:35-43).
The pope recalled "a great pastor from a simple, humble neighborhood" who once told him that he wished he could have some rest from his parishioners' demands.
"But he realized he was a shepherd and had to be with people," he said. "And Jesus ... teaches the disciples, the apostles, this pastoral attitude that is closeness to the people of God."
Pope Francis concluded the celebration with adoration and benediction, leading those following via livestream in an act of spiritual communion.