During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis urged everyone to do something for the Church in Myanmar: recite a Hail Mary of the rosary daily during the month of May, for peace among “all the leaders of Myanmar”. The pontiff sent his Easter greetings to the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He mentioned the beatification of Dr José Gregorio Hernández in Caracas.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Jesus is “the real vine” and “needs us”, said Pope Francis, speaking today to the faithful and pilgrims present in St Peter's Square for the recitation of Regina Caeli.
The pontiff expressed this “bold” concept, asking “In what sense does Jesus need us? He needs our witness. As branches, the fruit that we must bear is to bear witness to our Christian life.”
Following the Marian prayer of the Easter season, Francis urged everyone to pray for peace in Myanmar with a Hail Mary of the daily rosary, as proposed by the Church of that country.
Earlier, the Pope spoke about the Gospel of today's Mass (5th Sunday of Easter, B, John 15:1-8), in which the vine and the branches are mentioned. “There is no vine without branches,” Francis said, “and vice versa. The branches are not self-sufficient, but depend totally on the vine, which is the source of their existence.”
To explain this bond, Jesus repeats the verb “to remain” several times. “To remain in Him who proposes Jesus is an active, as well as reciprocal, remaining. Why? Because the branches without the vine can do nothing, they need sap to grow and bear fruit; but the vine too needs the branches, because the fruit does not grow on the trunk of the tree. It's a mutual need; it's a mutual remaining to bear fruit.”
“First of all we need Him. The Lord wants to tell us that before observing his commandments, before the Beatitudes, before the works of mercy, we must be united with Him, remain in Him. We cannot be good Christians if we do not remain in Jesus. Instead, with him we can do everything (cf. Phil 4:13).
“Jesus too, like the vine with the branches, needs us. Perhaps this concept seems bold to us,” if so, “let us ask ourselves: In what sense does Jesus need us? He needs our witness. As branches, the fruit that we must bear is to bear witness to our Christian life.”
The pontiff then asked himself: “How can we do this?” The answer is: “Jesus tells us: ‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you’ (John 15:7). This too is bold: the security of being fulfilled in prayer.”
“The fruitfulness of our lives depends on prayer. We can ask to think like Him, to act like Him, to see the world and things with Jesus’ eyes. Thus, [we can] love our brothers and sisters, starting with the poorest and those who suffer the most, as he did, and love them with His heart and bring to the world the fruits of goodness, charity and peace.”
After the Regina Caeli, Francis announced the beatification of José Gregorio Hernández (1864-1919) in Caracas three days ago. The pontiff described the doctor and scholar as “good Samaritan” who treated many sick people.
He then mentioned that with the start of May, the month traditionally dedicated to Marian devotion, the “rosary marathon” also started, to urge the Mother of God to bring an end to the pandemic.
Citing the invitation by the Church in Myanmar to everyone to “pray for peace by setting aside a Hail Mary in their daily rosary,” the pontiff asked everyone to pray for “all the leaders of Myanmar”, that they may find the path to meet, engage in dialogue and reach peace.
Lastly, the Holy Father extended his Easter greetings to the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches which today celebrate the Sunday of Resurrection according to the Julian calendar. For him, the mystery of Easter brings above all “comfort” to Christian communities “in particularly difficult situations”.