Pope Francis presided over Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on May 13, the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima, offering the Mass for students and teachers:
We pray today for students, the boys and girls who study, and for their teachers who need to find new ways to continue educating. May the Lord help them on this path and grant them courage and success.
In his homily, the pope commented on Wednesday’s Gospel in which Jesus says to his disciples: “I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”
“Remaining” in Jesus
Christian life, explained Pope Francis, means “remaining” in Jesus. This “remaining” he went on to say, is not passive; it is an active and mutual “remaining,” with us remaining in Jesus and Jesus remaining in us.
Pope Francis emphasized that Jesus “remaining” in us is one of the beautiful mysteries of life.
The Pope noted that what Jesus is saying is that, “branches without life can do nothing because they need the sap to grow and bear fruit. But the vine also needs branches: it is a reciprocal need in order to bear fruit.”
Christian life, underlined Pope Francis, means fulfilling the commandments, living the beatitudes and doing works of mercy. It is more than that, however, he said: it is this mutual “remaining.”
We can do nothing without Jesus
“We can do nothing without Jesus,” stressed the Pope, “and it seems that without us – allow me to say this – the Lord Jesus can do nothing.”
In this fruitful bond, he continued, Jesus needs our testimony. “Jesus needs us to bear witness to His name, because the Gospel grows by our testimony.”
The Lord is present in us
The Lord “remains in us to give us this strength of witness with which the Church grows,” the Pope said.
“It is a relationship of intimacy, it is mystical, and without words: it is not only for the mystics, it is for all of us.”
In that intimate dialogue, highlighted Pope Francis, “The Lord is present, the Lord is present in us, the Father is present in us, the Spirit is present in us; they remain in us. But I must remain in them.”
May the Lord, the Pope concluded, help us to understand and feel this mysticism of “remaining”: of the branches that need to remain on the vine, and the vine that needs the branches to bear the fruit of testimony.