"We must bear witness to a life that is given in service."

At the Angelus, the Holy Father recalled that our witness must be concrete in "sowing seeds of love, not with words that are carried away by the wind, but with concrete, simple and courageous examples".

David Fernández Alonso-March 21, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes
angelus Pope Francis

Photo: ©2021 Catholic News Service / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

On this fifth Sunday of Lent and the last Sunday before Palm Sunday, Pope Francis addressed the Angelus from the Apostolic Library, due to the restrictive measures decreed in Italy.

"The Liturgy of this Fifth Sunday of Lent," the Holy Father began, "proclaims the Gospel in which St. John recounts an episode that occurred in the last days of Christ's life, shortly before his Passion (cf. Jn 12:20-33)."

"We want to see Jesus."

Paraphrasing the Gospel passage, he highlighted the request of the Greeks to see Jesus: "While Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover feast, some Greeks, filled with curiosity about what he was doing, expressed their desire to see him. They came to the apostle Philip and said, 'We want to see Jesus'" (v.21). Philip tells Andrew and then together they go to tell the Master. In the request of those Greeks we can see the plea that many men and women, in every place and time, address to the Church and also to each one of us: 'We want to see Jesus'".

If it dies, it bears much fruit

"How does Jesus respond to this request?" Francis asks. And he answers "in a thought-provoking way. He says: "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified [...] Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (vv. 23.24). These words do not seem to respond to the request made 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 in order to bear much fruit. As if to say: if you want to know and understand me, look at the grain of wheat that dies in the ground, look at the seed of wheat that dies in the ground, look at the seed of wheat that dies in the ground.

The emblem of the Christian

Starting from this reflection, he affirms that the cross has become the emblem of the Christian: "It is worth thinking of the sign of the cross, which over the centuries has become the emblem par excellence of Christians. Who also today wants to "see Jesus", perhaps coming from countries and cultures where Christianity is little known, what does he see in the first place? What is the most common sign he finds? The crucifix. In the churches, in the homes of Christians, even on their own bodies".

"The important thing is that the sign be consistent with the Gospel: the cross cannot but express love, service, unreserved self-giving: only in this way is it truly the "tree of life," of life superabundant. Even today many people, often without saying so implicitly, would like to "see Jesus", to meet him, to know him. This makes us understand the great responsibility of Christians and of our communities".

Service delivery

The Pope wanted to remind us that the Lord is able to turn into fruit those situations that seem arid: "We too must respond with the witness of a life given in service. It is a matter of sowing seeds of love, not with words that are blown away by the wind, but with concrete, simple and courageous examples. Then the Lord, with his grace, makes us bear fruit, even when the soil is arid because of misunderstandings, difficulties or persecutions. Precisely then, in trial and solitude, while the seed dies, is the moment when life springs forth, to bear mature fruit in due time. It is in this web of death and life that we can experience the joy and true fruitfulness of love".

In conclusion, Francis asked "that 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".

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