Serving and meeting together give a joy that fills life, said the Pope this week. “Whoever does not live to serve does not need to live”; a believer is called to always go “to meet others” to embrace them

June 3, 2016

By Domenico Agasso Jr.  

Christians Serve with Joy, not with a frown:  Pope Francis at Casa Santa Marta: “An ugly thing, the gloomy faithful!”; “Whoever does not live to serve does not need to live”; a believer is called to always go “to meet others” to embrace them, as God teaches

It would be enough to learn “to serve and to reach out to others,” and the world would change dramatically for the better. Serving and meeting together give a “joy” that “fills life”, especially for Christians, who should never have a “frown” of gloom: the word of Pope Francis. The Pope dedicated his reflection, during his homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta, to the Madonna, on the final day of the Marian month, as reported by Vatican Radio.

Thinking of the Mother of Jesus, the bishop of Rome placed emphasis on female courage, on the ability to reach out to others, on the outstretched hand as a sign of help. All of these are glimpses of the passage from today’s Gospel which recounts the visit of Mary to St. Elizabeth. This passage, along with the words of the prophet Zephaniah in the First Reading and those of St. Paul in the Second, expresses a liturgy “full of joy”, which represents a breath of “fresh air” for “our life.”

The Pope exclaimed: “An ugly thing, Christians with a frown, the gloomy Christians. An ugly, ugly, ugly thing. But they are not fully Christians. They think they are, but they are not fully so. This,” he remarked, “is the Christian message. And in this atmosphere of joy, which the liturgy gives us today as a gift, I would just like to point out two things: first, an attitude; second, a fact.”

The attitude “is one of service.” A service – that of the Madonna – which is implemented without hesitation: Mary, we read in the Gospel, “hurried” and did so, said Pope Francis, even though she was pregnant and risked encountering criminals along the road. “This 16-year-old girl, possibly 17, no more,” he pointed out, “was courageous. She gets up and she goes.” No excuses.

So this is “the courage of a woman. The brave women,” Pope Bergoglio observed, “that there are in the Church: they are like the Madonna. These women who are carrying on the family, these women who are carrying on the education of children, who face so many hardships, so much pain, who care for the sick … are courageous: they get up and serve, serve.” And service is “a Christian sign. Whoever does not live to serve,” said the Pope, “do not need to live.” Furthermore, the service of a Christian should be a “service in joy, this is the attitude that I want to emphasize today. There is joy and also service. Always in order to serve.”

Then, the fact: the encounter, the one between Mary and her cousin. “These two women,” he said, “come together and meet with joy.” It is “a whole party.” Whence, if “we could learn this, to serve and to reach out to others, how the world would change.”

Meeting together is “another Christian sign. A person who claims to be Christian and is not able to reach out to others,” admonished the Pope, “to meet with others, is not entirely Christian.” Then Francis recalled that “both serving and meeting require us to go outside of ourselves: to go out to serve and go out to meet with others, to embrace another person. The Lord,” he concluded, “is in the serving, the Lord is in the meeting.”