Sunday, April 29, 2018

Angelus with reflections about the true vine

At noon today (6:00am EDT), the Fifth Sunday of Easter, the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Regina Coeli with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Once again on this fifth Sunday of Easter, God's word continues to point out the path and the conditions for us to form the community of the risen Lord.  Last Sunday, the relationship between those who believe in Christ, the Good Shepherd was the focus.  Today, the gospel points out the moment when Jesus presented himself as the true vine and invited us to remain united to Him in order to bear much fruit (cf Jn 15:1-8).  A vine is a plant that is one with its branches; and the branches only bear fruit when they are united to the vine.  This relationship is the secret to Christian life and the evangelist John expresses it with the verb to remain , which in today's passage is repeated seven times.  Remain in me, says the Lord, remain in the Lord.

It's a matter of remaining with the Lord in order to find the courage to go outside of ourselves, beyond our own comfort levels, beyond our restricted and protected spaces, in order to penetrate the open seas of the needs others and to add our Christian witness to the world.  The courage to go out of ourselves and to enter into the needs of others arrises out of our faith in the risen Lord and the certainty that his Spirit is part of our history.  In fact, one of the most ripened fruit that is found in communion with Christ is commitment to charity toward our neighbours, loving our brothers and sisters with no regard for self, even to the point of ultimate consequences, just as Jesus has loved us.  The dynamism of a believer's charity is not the fruit of some strategy, it does not come from external solicitations, from social or ideological demands, but rather from an encounter with Jesus ad from remaining in Jesus.  For us, he is the vine from which we draw our sap, the life that we need to bring into our modern-day society a different way of living and of self-giving which gives other people the place of first importance.

When we are intimately close to the Lord, like the vines and branches are intimately connected to each other, we are able to bear the fruit of new life - mercy, justice and peace - which arise from our relationship with the risen Lord.  This is what the Saints did, those who lived the Christian life and the witness of charity to the fullest, since they were truly branches of the Lord's life.  But in order to be saints it is not necessary for us to all be bishops, priests, religious men or women ... All of us, all of us are called to be saints, to live with love and to offer our own testimony every day to those we meet, wherever we are (Gaudete et exsultate, 14).  We are all called to be saints; we should all be saints with this wealth that we receive from the risen Lord.  Every activity - our work and our leisure, our family life and our social life, the exercise of political, cultural and economic responsibilities - every activity small or great, experienced in union with Jesus and with an attitude of love and of service, is an opportunity to live our Baptism and evangelical holiness in all its fullness.

May Mary, the Queen of the Saints and a model of perfect communion with her divine Son, help us.  May she teach us to remain in Jesus, like branches connected to a vine, and to never separate ourselves from his love.  In fact, we can do nothing without him, for our life is rooted in the living Christ, present in the Church and in the world.

After the recitation of the Regina Coeli, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Yesterday in Krak√≥w (Poland), Anna Chrzanowska, a lay woman who dedicated her life to caring for the sick in whom she saw the face of the suffering Jesus was beatified (declared Blessed).  Let us give thanks to God for the witness of this apostle to the sick and let us try to imitate her example.

I am accompanying in prayer the positive outcome of the Inter-Korean Summit held this past Friday and the courageous commitment expressed by the leaders of the two parties toward a path of sincere dialogue that will hopefully lead to a Korean Peninsula that is free of nuclear arms.  I am praying to the Lord that the hope of a future of peace and increased fraternity will not be undone, and that collaboration may continue bearing good fruit for the beloved Korean people and for the entire world.

Last week, the Christian community in Nigeria was once again struck by the killing of a group of the faithful, including two priests: let us entrust them to our merciful God, that he may help those communities who are being sorely tried, that they may be able to re-establish concord and peace.

I affectionately greet the pilgrims who are present today, there are too many groups here for me to name you all!  But at least, let me greet those who have come from Bragga (Portugal), from India and from Pakistan; the faithful from Pavia, Crema and Vignale, the many young people who have recently celebrated Confirmation, and the many others who soon will celebrate that Sacrament; and the adolescents from Cuneo, Remedello, Arcore, Valle Olona and Modica.

A special thought for the Confraternity of Assisi, who are being accompanied by your Bishop; for the young leaders from the Giuseppini Fathers of Murialdo; and for those who are taking part in the National Catechumenal Conference which has been organized by the Italian Conference of Bishops.

Dear brothers and sisters, in two days' time, on the first of May, that afternoon, I will begin the month of Mary with a pilgrimage to the Shine of Our Lady of Divine Love.  We will recite the rosary, praying especially for peace in Syria and throughout the world.  I invite all of you to be spiritually united with us, and I invite you to pray the rosary for peace throughout the month of May.

I wish you all a good Sunday.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!

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