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Pope Francis greets the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square for the weekly Angelus Pope Francis greets the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square for the weekly Angelus  (Vatican Media)

Pope at Angelus: To know Jesus, one must gaze upon the Cross

At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on the death of Jesus as the supreme act of love, the font of salvation for humanity of every age.

By Christopher Wells

Pope Francis’ remarks at Sunday’s Angelus focused on the Gospel of the day, which tells how a group of Greek pilgrims in Jerusalem wanted “to see Jesus.” The Lord’s response to these religious minded Greeks is “surprising”, the Pope said, but ultimately reveals a deeper truth than a simple yes or no answer. Jesus answers their desire by pointing to His imminent Passion and Death: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

To know Jesus, look at the Cross
 

“One who wishes to know Jesus must gaze upon the Cross, where His glory is revealed,” Pope Francis said. The Cross is not simply a decoration, much less a fashion accessory, but is, instead, “a religious sign to contemplate and comprehend.” He continued, “In the image of Jesus Crucified is revealed the mystery of the death of the Son of God as supreme act of love, font of life and of salvation for the humanity of all time.”

Jesus' death an act of fruitfulness for many
 

Turning to the Gospel image of the grain of wheat which falls to the ground and dies, producing “much fruit,” Pope Francis said Jesus uses that imagery to help us understand His Death and Resurrection “is an act of fruitfulness which bears fruit for many.” Jesus’ coming to earth in the Incarnation is not enough, the Pope said. Jesus “must also die, to redeem human beings from the slavery of sin, and to give them new life reconciled in love.”

Called to be grains of wheat
 

The Holy Father goes on to say that this “dynamism of the grain of wheat,” which was perfectly accomplished by Jesus, must also “be realized in the life of His disciples.” We too, he said, are called to “lose our life in order to receive it back again, new and eternal.” This, he explained, means “thinking less of ourselves,” and going out to help our brothers and sisters in need. “Joyfully accomplishing works of charity for those who suffer in body and spirit is the most authentic way of living the Gospel,” Pope Francis concluded. “it is the necessary foundation so that our community might grow in fraternity and in reciprocal welcome.”

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18 March 2018, 12:29