Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Let's take a moment of silence and everyone in silence, in their heart, ask themselves the question:" Who is Jesus for me? ". In silence, everyone should responds in their heart”. This was Pope Francis invitation this morning to the tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus. Responding to the Pope’s invitation the crowd remained silent, before intoning the Marian prayer.
Francis addressed the same question twice. Before inviting the crowd to silent reflection silence, he said: "Each of us can ask: Who is Jesus for me? Is He simply a name? an idea? A person from history? Or is He really someone who loves me, Who gave His life for me, and walks with me? Who is Jesus for you? Do you stay with Jesus? Do you try to know him in his word? Do you read the Gospel, every day a passage from the Gospel to know Jesus? Do you carry a small Gospel in your pocket, in your purse, to read it anywhere? Because the more we are with him the greater our desire to remain with him".
And again at the end of the gathering in his greetings to the various groups, he added: "Do not forget, this week, to stop every day just a moment and ask the question:" Who is Jesus for me? ". And everyone should answer this in their heart".
Previously the Pope had to some extent given his answer: "All that we have in the world does not satisfy our hunger for the infinite. We need Jesus: to be with Him, to nourish ourselves at His table, His words of eternal life! Believing in Jesus means to make Him the center, the meaning of our life. Being bound to him, in a real relationship of faith and love, does not mean being chained, but profoundly free, always on the road, open to the challenges of our time. "
The question "Who is Jesus for me?" Asked by Francis was inspired by the Sunday Gospel (21st in the year, B, Jn. 6: 60-69), on the "Bread of Life" at the end of which many disciples abandoned Jesus: "'This is too hard; - they said - Who can accept it? "(Jn 6:60)."
"Faced with these defections - continued the Pope - Jesus is unsparing and does not weaken his words, indeed he forces us to make a clear choice: either to be with him or separated from him, and he said to the Twelve:" Will you also go away ? "(v. 67).
Now Peter makes his confession of faith on behalf of the other Apostles: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life "(v. 68). He does not say 'where shall we go?', But 'to whom shall we go?'. "
"The basic problem - he said - is not about abandoning work that has been undertaken, but who to go to. From Peter’s question, we understand that fidelity to God is a question of fidelity to a person with whom we are bound to walk together on the same road. And this person is Jesus. "
"The Virgin Mary - he concluded - will help us to 'go' always to Jesus to experience the freedom that he offers us, and that allows us to clean our choices from worldly filth and our fears."
After the Angelus prayer, Francis expressed his "deep concern" about "the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has accelerated again in the last few weeks."
"I renew my heartfelt appeal - he added – that the commitments undertaken to achieve peace might be respected; and that, with the help of organizations and persons of good will, there might be a response to the humanitarian emergency in the country. May the Lord grant peace to the beloved Ukrainian land, which is about to celebrate its national holiday tomorrow. We pray to the Virgin Mary to intercede for us".