POPE FRANCIS at the ANGELUS
Apostolic Palace Library
Sunday, 21 March 2021
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
On this fifth Sunday of Lent, the liturgy proclaims the Gospel in which St. John relates an episode that took place in the last days of Christ's life, shortly before the Passion (cf. Jn 12 : 20-33). While Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover feast, some Greeks, intrigued by what He was doing, expressed the desire to see him.
They approached the apostle Philip and told him: "We want to see Jesus" (v. 21). “We want to see Jesus”. Let us remember this desire: "We want to see Jesus". Philip talks about it to Andrea and then together they report it to the Master. In the request of those Greeks we can see the question that so many men and women, of every place and of every time, address to the Church and also to each of us: "We want to see Jesus".
And how does Jesus respond to that request? In a way that makes you think. He says thus: “the hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. […] If the grain of wheat falls to the ground does not die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit "(vv. 23-24). These words do not seem to answer the question posed by those Greeks. In fact, they go further. In fact, Jesus reveals that he, for every man who wants to seek him, is the hidden seed ready to die to give much fruit. As if to say: if you want to know me, if you want to understand me, look at the grain of wheat that dies in the ground, that is, look at the cross.
One thinks of the sign of the cross, which over the centuries has become the emblem par excellence of Christians. Who even today wants to "see Jesus", perhaps coming from countries and cultures where Christianity is little known, what does he see first of all? What is the most common sign you encounter? The crucifix, the cross. In churches, in the homes of Christians, even carried on their own body. The important thing is that the sign is consistent with the Gospel: the cross can only express love, service, self-giving without reserve: only in this way is it truly the "tree of life", of superabundant life.
Even today many people, often without saying it, implicitly, would like to “see Jesus”, meet him, know him. From here we understand the great responsibility of us Christians and of our communities. We too must respond with the witness of a life that gives itself in service, of a life that takes upon itself the style of God - closeness, compassion and tenderness - and gives itself in service. It is a question of sowing seeds of love not with words that fly away, but with concrete examples, simple and courageous, not with theoretical condemnations, but with gestures of love. Then the Lord, with his grace, makes us bear fruit, even when the ground is arid due to misunderstandings, difficulties or persecutions, or claims of clerical legalisms or moralisms. This is barren land. Just then, in trial and loneliness, as the seed dies, it is the moment in which life sprouts, to produce ripe fruit in due time. it is in this intertwining of death and life that we can experience the joy and true fruitfulness of love, which always, I repeat, is given in the style of God: closeness, compassion, tenderness.
May the Virgin Mary help us to follow Jesus, to walk strong and happy on the path of service, so that the love of Christ may shine in all our attitudes and become more and more the style of our daily life.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
today in Italy the Day of Remembrance and Commitment is celebrated in memory of the innocent victims of the mafia . The mafias are present in various parts of the world and, taking advantage of the pandemic, they are enriching themselves with corruption. St. John Paul II denounced their "culture of death" and Benedict XVI condemned them as "roads of death". These structures of sin, mafia structures, contrary to the Gospel of Christ, exchange faith with idolatry. Today we commemorate all the victims and renew our commitment against the mafias.
Tomorrow is World Water Day , which invites us to reflect on the value of this wonderful and irreplaceable gift from God. For us believers, "sister water" is not a commodity: it is a universal symbol and a source of life and health. . Too many brothers, many, many brothers and sisters have access to little and perhaps polluted water! Drinking water and sanitation must be ensured for all. I thank and encourage those who, with different professional skills and responsibilities, work for this very important purpose. I am thinking for example of the University of Water, in my homeland, of those who work to carry it forward and to make people understand the importance of water. Many thanks to you Argentines who work in this University of Water.
I greet all of you who are connected through the media , with a special memory for the sick and the lonely. I wish you a happy Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Image Screenshot