11/03/2015, 00.00
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Pope: "Whoever serves, saves. Conversely, those who don't serve have no reason to be alive.”

During the Mass for the souls of the cardinals and bishops who died this year, Pope Francis stressed “God’s style, which saves us by serving and annihilating itself”. Noting that in our minds, “death appears dark and distressing,” he pointed out that “Jesus did not flee it; instead, he took it upon himself fully with all its contradictions.” Thus, “May the Passover of the Lord be enough in our lives, enough to be free from the anxieties of the ephemeral, which pass and vanish into thin air”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated Mass today in St Peter's Basilica for the repose of the cardinals and bishops who died during the year. Speaking in his homily about the “choice to serve,” he noted that "God’s style, which saves us by serving and annihilating itself, has a lot to teach us” for it shows that “Whoever serves, saves. Conversely, those who don't serve have no reason to be alive.”

"Let us think with gratitude about the vocation of these sacred ministers. As the word indicates, it is primarily about ministrare, i.e. serving. As we ask for them the reward promised to the ‘good and faithful servants’ (cf. Mt 25, 14-30), we are called to renew the choice to serve in the Church. This is what the Lord asks us to do. As a servant, he washed the feet of his closest disciples, so that we might do as he did (cf. Jn 13:14-15). God served us first. Jesus’ minister, who came to serve and not to be served (cf. Mk 10:45) cannot but be a shepherd ready to give his life for his flock. Whoever serves and gives might seem like a loser in the eyes of the world. In reality, by losing his life, he will find it again. A life that loses itself by losing itself in love imitates Christ. It conquers death and gives life to the world. Who serves, saves. Conversely, those who don't serve have no reason to be alive."

"So says the Gospel, ‘For God so loved the world,’ said Jesus (v. 16). This love is so real, real indeed, that it has taken our death upon itself. To save us, it has reached where we have ended up, away from God, the giver of life: in death, in a tomb without a way out. This is how low the Son of God has gone, bowing to us like a servant to take on all that is ours, going so far as to open wide the doors of life for us."

"In our minds, death appears dark and distressing,” the pontiff said. “‘[B]y the envy of the devil, it entered the world,’ says the Scripture (cf. Wis, 2:24). Yet Jesus did not flee it; instead, he fully took it upon himself with all its contradictions. Now, by looking at him, by believing in Him, we are saved by him. Everyone who ‘believes in him may have eternal life,’ Jesus said twice in the brief passage in today's Gospel (vv. 15:16).

“God’s style, which saves us by serving and annihilating itself, has a lot to teach us. Whilst we might expect a triumphant divine victory, Jesus shows us a humble one instead. Raised on the cross, he allows death and evil to assail him as he continues to love. For us it is difficult to accept this reality. It is a mystery, but the secret of this mystery, of this extraordinary humility, lies entirely in the power of love.”

“In the Passover of Jesus we see death and the remedy to death. This is possible for the great love with which God loved us, for the humble love that lowers itself, for the service that knows how to assume the condition of a servant. Thus, Jesus did not only take evil away, but he turned it into good. He did not change things in words but in deeds, not in appearance but in substance, not on the surface but at the root. He turned the cross into a bridge to life. We too can win with Him, if we choose helpful and humble love, which remains victorious for eternity. It is a love that does not cry out and is not be imposed; it is one that knows to wait with confidence and patience, because, as the Book of Lamentations says, ‘It is good to hope in silence for the Lord’s deliverance,’ (3:26). "

"For God so loved the world.’ We are led to love by what we feel we need and desire. God instead loves to the end of the world, i.e. he loves us as we are. Even in this Eucharist, he comes to serve us, to give us life that saves from death and fills with hope. As we offer this Mass for our dear brother cardinals and bishops, we ask for ourselves what the Apostle Paul exhorts us to do, i.e. ‘Think of what is above, not of what is on earth’ (Col, 3:2); God’s love and that of our neighbours more than our own needs. We should not worry for what we lack down here, but [should be concerned about] for the treasure up there. [We should not be worried about] what we need, but about what really is really needed. May the Passover of the Lord be enough in our lives, enough to be free from the anxieties of the ephemeral, which pass and vanish into thin air. May he be enough for us in whom is found life, salvation, resurrection, and joy. Then we shall be servants according to his heart: not employed officials but beloved children who give their lives for the world."

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