VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The revelation of God’s love toward humanity is made known through contemplating the crucifix and not just using it as work of art or as a fashion accessory, Pope Francis said.
Through the image of Christ crucified, the mystery of Jesus’ death “as a supreme act of love, source of life and salvation for humanity in every age is revealed,” the pope said March 18 before reciting the Angelus prayer with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“Today’s Gospel invites us to turn our gaze toward the crucifix, which is not an ornamental object or a clothing accessory — that is often abused — but a religious sign to contemplate and comprehend,” he said.
The pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St. John, in which Jesus foreshadows his death through the imagery of the grain of wheat that, once dead, “produces much fruit.”
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life,” Jesus said.
Christ’s comparison to the grain of wheat, the pope explained, was made so his disciples would understand that the “extreme event” of his crucifixion, death and resurrection was an act meant to bear fruit and save men and women from the slavery of sin.
“He paid that price. This is the mystery of Christ. Go to his wounds, enter, contemplate. Look at Jesus but from within,” he said.
Like the grain of wheat, Pope Francis said, Christians are also called to “lose their life” by thinking “less of ourselves, our personal interests” and thinking more of the needs of the least of these.
“To carry out works of charity with joy toward those who suffer in body and spirit is the most authentic way of living the Gospel,” Pope Francis said. “It is the necessary foundation so that our communities may grow in brotherhood and mutual hospitality.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103