03/18/2018, 14.00
VATICAN

Pope: the Crucifix is ​​not an ornament, but a religious sign to be contemplated

"In the image of Jesus crucified the mystery of the death of the Son of God is revealed as the supreme act of love, the source of life and salvation for humanity of all times". Being, like Jesus, the grain of wheat "means thinking less about oneself, about personal interests, and knowing how to" see "and meet the needs of our neighbors, especially the least among us".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The crucifix "is not an ornamental object or a fashion accessory - which is often  abused! - but a religious sign to contemplate and understand", warned  Pope Francis ahead of praying the midday  Angelus, when he recalled that the cross has in itself "the mystery of the death of the Son of God as the supreme act of love, the source of life and salvation of humanity. For all times".

To the 20 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square, Francis said that "today's Gospel (cf. Jn 12: 20-33) tells of an episode that took place in the last days of Jesus' life. The scene takes place in Jerusalem, where he finds himself for the Jewish Passover festival. Some Greeks also arrived for this ritual celebration; these are men animated by religious sentiments, attracted by the faith of the Jewish people and who, having heard of this great prophet, approached Philip, one of the twelve apostles, and said to him: "We want to see Jesus" (v. 21) . John emphasizes this phrase, centered on the verb to see, that in the vocabulary of the evangelist means going beyond appearances to grasp the mystery of a person ". The verb that uses, to see, is to reach the heart, to the innner most self of the person ".

"Jesus' reaction is surprising. He does not answer with a 'yes' or a 'no', but he says: "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified» (v.23). These words, which at first sight seem to ignore the question of those Greeks, actually give the true answer, because those who want to know Jesus must look to the Cross, where his glory is revealed. Look within the Cross. Today's Gospel invites us to turn our gaze to the Crucifix, which is not an ornamental object or a fashion accessory - sometimes abused! - but a religious sign to be contemplated and understood. The image of Jesus crucified reveals the mystery of the death of the Son of God as the supreme act of love, the source of life and salvation for humanity of all times ". "In his wounds we have been healed. We should think of how we look at the crucifix: Do I look at it like a work of art or do I look to see the mystery, do I look within, until I see the mystery. There is this beautiful devotion to pray the Our Father for each of his wounds".

"To explain the meaning of his death and resurrection, Jesus uses an image and says:" If the grain of wheat, fallen on the ground, does not die, it remains alone; if instead it dies, it produces abundant fruit "(v.24). He wants to make it clear that his extreme event - death and resurrection - is an act of fruitfulness, which will bear fruit for many. His wounds have healed us. Thus he compares himself to the grain of wheat that rotting in the earth generates new life. With the Incarnation, Jesus came to earth; but this is not enough: He must also die, to redeem men from the slavery of sin and give them a new life reconciled in love ". I said to redeem men, but to redeem you, me, all of us ".

"This dynamism of the grain of wheat, which took place in Jesus, must also be realized in us his disciples: we are called to make ours this Easter law of losing our life to receive it anew and eternal. What does it mean to lose your life? What does being the grain of wheat mean? It means thinking less about oneself, about personal interests, and knowing how to 'see' and meet the needs of our neighbor, especially the least among us. It is the necessary foundation for our communities to grow in fraternity and in mutual acceptance ". With joyful works of love for those who suffer in the body and in the spirit is the most authentic way of living the Gospel". "I want to see Jesus, but to see him from within. Enter his wounds ".

After the Angelus the Pope gave thanks for the welcome he received yesterday on his pilgrimage to Pietrelcina and San Giovanni Rotondo, "which I will not forget".

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