By Linda Bordoni
Addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday for the Regina Coeli prayer, the Pope reflected on the Gospel reading of the day which tells us of the moment in which Jesus presents himself as the true vine and invites us to remain united with Him in order to bear fruit.
Explaining that the vine is a plant that forms a whole with its branches which are fertile only if they remain one with the vine, the Pope said the secret of Christian life lies in this binding relationship with Jesus Christ.
One must remain with the Lord in order to go forth with courage
“One must remain with the Lord in order to find the courage to go out of ourselves, out of our comfort zones, out of our narrow and protected spaces” he said in order to go forth into the “open sea made up of the needs of others” and bear witness to our Christian vocation.
He said one of the most mature fruits that is borne from our communion with Christ is our commitment to show charity towards our neighbour, and to love our brothers and sisters with self-sacrifice, just as Jesus loved us.
Francis explained that the charity of a true believer is not the result of strategies; it does not arise from external solicitations, from social or ideological demands, but from the encounter with Jesus and from “remaining” in Jesus.
“For us, he is the vine from which we absorb the sap, that is, the "life" that we bring into society: a different way of living and spending, which puts the last in the first place” he said.
The Pope held up the example of the Saints but encouraged those present to pursue holiness in their everyday lives.
Gaudete et Exsultate
“To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious. […] We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves” he said.
The Pope concluded saying that every activity - work and rest, family and social life, the exercise of political, cultural and economic responsibilities - if lived in union with Jesus and with an attitude of love and service, is an opportunity to live baptism and evangelical holiness to the full.