Witnesses of an event to remember.

Commentary on the Gospel of Sunday, April 14, 2024. Third Sunday of Lent. 

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Mons. Francesco Follo

(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 04.12.2024).- Commentary on the Gospel of Sunday, April 14, 2024. Third Sunday of Lent.

In the sea of ​the same old life there is a continuous novelty.

Easter was fifteen days ago. Work and school have started again at full speed and everyday life has started to flow as usual. The routine of everyday life leads to a vague recollection of the announcement that the Lord is risen. The unheard news that the risen Christ has definitively defeated death risks being reduced to an information on an important event far back in time. This happens because we forget that it is a news that not only informs us that our life does not end here but forms us as people who already on this Earth participate in the resurrection of Christ.

How can we intensely live the memory of Christ without letting ourselves be tossed by the waves of life?

How can we be mindful of the Risen One in daily life?

Living the memory of the Lord in the work and not despite work, in the family and not despite the family, in the Church and not despite the Church that with its rites defines what is true.

It is precisely the Church with its liturgy that helps us to remember Christ. Let us consider, for example, Holy Week. During this great and holy period, the Church has awakened in us the living memory of the sufferings that the Lord has endured for us and has prepared us to celebrate with joy «the true Easter that the Blood of Christ has covered with glory, the Easter in which the Church celebrates the Feast that is the origin of all the feasts«. (Ambrosian Preface of the Easter Mass).

On Holy Thursday, the Church recalled the Last Supper where the Lord, on the eve of his passion and death, instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist in which Christ gives himself to all of us as food of salvation and as a medicine of immortality.

Good Friday is the day when the Church recalls the passion, crucifixion, and death of Jesus. On this day, the liturgy brings us together to meditate on the great mystery of evil and sin which oppress humanity and to make us retrace the sufferings of the Lord which expiate this evil.

Remembrance needs silence, so Holy Saturday is marked by a profound silence. There is a need of a day of silence to meditate on the reality of human life, on the forces of evil and on the great power of good arising from the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection.

This Saturday of silence and sorrowful memory leads to the Easter Vigil, which introduces the most important Sunday in the history of the world: the Easter Sunday of Christ.

Remembering the mysteries of the dead and risen Christ means living in deep and supportive adherence to the present, convinced that what we celebrate is a living reality.

Remembering Christ does not mean simply remembering him as a person from the past who has left us a profound teaching, but it means making him present by letting us be drawn by his loving presence forever alive.

Remembering means to be in communion with Christ. The communion with Jesus is not a mystery that is celebrated simply in the liturgy with gestures and words. The commandment: «Do this in memory of me» has a double meaning: to remember the sacrament and to remember in life, to make Jesus present in the sacrament and to make him present in charity.

Remembrance and presence.

On this third Sunday of Easter, the liturgy helps us to remember by putting Christ’s presence before the eyes of the heart. It does this by proposing as a reading of the Gospel the account that St. Luke makes of the third meeting of the Risen Lord with his Apostles in the Upper Room.

On this Sunday the Church wants to make us understand how, after his resurrection, Christ is truly alive among us, in our days and in our daily life. Faith in Christ is precisely this: to believe that Christ is truly risen and lives every day with us as a faithful friend forever.

Remembering does not mean recalling the memory of a loved person but giving back to the eyes of the heart the true presence of the Beloved.

The evangelist Luke proposes almost an itinerary of the apparitions of Christ to make us better understand that the Crucified Christ is truly the Risen One.

After having on the previous Sundays presented, as evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, the empty tomb, the testimony of the angels, the apparition to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, today St. Luke tells of Jesus offering even more tangible evidence: He appears to the assembled Apostles, shows his wounds, and sits at the table with them. Jesus has a real body. The Risen One is not a ghost, but a real being who becomes a presence among his own to whom he asks to remember him and to bear witness to him.

This presence remains available to us in a sublime way in the Eucharistic bread, which is kept in every church in the world. Let us go and stand before the tabernacle to worship and visit the Risen Lord. Eucharistic adoration and the visit to the Blessed Sacrament must be done precisely because they have in themselves an orientation to Christ present under the species of bread.

In Greek «adoration» is called proskynesis. It means the gesture of submission, the recognition of God as our true measure, whose norm we accept to follow. It means that freedom does not mean enjoying life and considering oneself to be autonomous but orienting oneself according to the measure of truth and goodness to become real and good.

In Latin «adoration» is ad-oratio, that is mouth-to-mouth contact, kiss, hug and, therefore, love. Submission becomes union, because the one to whom we submit is Love. Submission acquires a meaning because it does not impose foreign things upon us but frees us in function of the innermost truth of our being, makes us permanently convert to Christ and have a relationship of friendship, sharing, love, confidence with Him and with our brothers and sisters: communion.

The union with Christ through the Eucharist eaten and adored, allows us to give, as Christians, a true testimony of a life lived with Him.

An example of how to live this remembrance and this presence of Christ comes to us from the consecrated Virgins. Their vocation is not identified in a specific task or in a particular function, but in «remembering» and in testifying that the essential in the Church is the love of Christ for each one and for all. It is a faithful and personal love that the Scripture and the word of the Church have translated with the image of the «Bridegroom».

It is also useful to remember that «the eucharistic mystery also has an intrinsic relationship to consecrated virginity, inasmuch as the latter is an expression of the Church’s exclusive devotion to Christ, whom she accepts as her Bridegroom with a radical and fruitful fidelity. In the Eucharist, consecrated virginity finds inspiration and nourishment for its complete dedication to Christ.»(Benedict XVI, Sacramentum caritatis, n. 81). «In the Eucharist, Christ always implements the gift of himself that he made on the Cross. His whole life is an act of total sharing of self for love»(Pope Francis).

The consecrated virgin is passionate in her love for the Eucharist, receiving Christ as her inspiration and her food. She is a woman always ready to receive the intimate love of the Lord and to repay him with prayer and service. Strengthened by this food, she dares to present herself publicly as a virgin amid a hostile society, humbly recognizing that she is not only a consecrated woman but a consecrated virgin.

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