Pope: "celebrate Holy days 'of love' leading to Easter"
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has invited Christians to contemplate the Cross and to celebrate the holy days leading to Easter.
Continuing his catechesis on hope, the Pope was addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square for the weekly Wednesday General Audience.
Unlike worldly hopes, which fail to bring lasting satisfaction Pope Francis told the faithful that "our Christian hope is grounded in God's eternal love".
Reflecting on the Gospel of John, the Pope recalled Jesus' words as he entered Jerusalem: "unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit".
These words, he said, can help us understand the mystery of God's promise – think of a tiny seed that falls to the ground; if it remains closed unto itself nothing happens, if it breaks open it gives life to an ear of wheat, and then to a plant that will yield fruit.
Jesus, the Pope said, brought a new hope into the world: like the seed he became tiny and fell to the earth. His saving death and resurrection show that the self-giving love that is God's very life can transform darkness into light, sin into forgiveness, apparent defeat into eternal victory.
If anyone asks me, Francis said "how is hope born? I answer from the Cross: look at the Cross, look at the Crucified Christ, that is where you will find hope that never vanishes, that lasts for eternity".
He who chooses to live and love with humility in the way Jesus has shown, the Pope continued, and chooses the hope He has given to us, makes the winning choice.
For he who thirsts for worldly things and strives only to satisfy his own desires, he said, will never be satiated warning that "it's a nasty kind of thirst, the more you have the more you want" and at the end you will lose everything.
Thus, he said, the Cross of Christ is the source of that unfailing hope which gives meaning and direction to our lives.
And underlining the fact that love is the motor that drives our hope, he said that the Cross is not the goal; it's a step towards the glory to which we are called.
"As we celebrate these holy days, the days of love which lead to Easter, the Pope concluded, I would like to give each of you a task: contemplate the Cross and say to the Lord: "with You nothing is lost; You are my hope".