Pope Francis: We Must Become Living Branches in the Church

Says Christians Grow in Friendship with Christ Through Sacraments During Regina Coeli Address

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Christians are called to be like the branches on a vine and “bring fruits of this common belonging to Christ and to the Church” to the world.

This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square this morning prior to the recitation of the Regina Coeli.

The Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel, in which Jesus tells his disciples that “just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.”

Drawing from Christ’s words, the Pope said that those who are not in communion with Jesus become sterile, even “harmful for the community.”

“With this image He teaches us to remain in Him, to be united to Him, even though He cannot be physically present,” the Pope said.

“Jesus is the Life, and through Him – like the sap in the tree – passes the same love of God to the branches, the Holy Spirit. Thus, we are the branches, and through this parable Jesus wants us to understand the importance of remaining united to Him.”

Continuing his address, the Pope explained that branches, like Christians, are not self-sufficient but rather, depend on the vine where they find their source of life. The gift of life for Christians, he said, stems from our Baptism.

“We must remain faithful to Baptism and grow in friendship with the Lord through prayer, daily prayer, through the listening and docility of His Word- to read the Gospel – in the participation of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation,” he exhorted.

“The fruits of this profound union with Jesus are marvelous: our whole person is transformed by the grace of the Spirit: courage, intelligence, will, affections, even the body, because we are unity of spirit and body.”

The 78 year old Pontiff called on the faithful to receive this new way of life, which leads to caring and loving others, especially the poorest and those suffering most.

Concluding his address, Pope Francis encouraged those present to become “living branches in the Church.” He also conveyed the importance of giving witness to faith in a coherent way: “a coherence of life and thought, of life and faith – aware that all of us, according to our particular vocation, participates in the unique salvific mission of the Lord, Jesus Christ.”

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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