(Source: MJ/Linda Bordoni, Vatican News)
Pope Francis introduced morning Mass on Monday of the Third Week of Easter, with special thoughts for artists.
“Let us pray today for artists, for those who have this great capacity for creativity,” and for showing us the way to beauty. He continued: “May the Lord give us all the grace of creativity at this time.”
He then reflected on the Gospel reading of the day (Jn 6:22-29), in which Jesus redirects the crowd for seeking Him after the multiplication of the loaves and fishes only because their stomachs had been filled by exhorting them “not to work for food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life.”
Being good people, the Pope said, they asked him how to accomplish this and Jesus replied: “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
Pope Francis explained that the crowd listened to Jesus “without getting tired.” Once sated, they thought they would make Him king, “but they had forgotten their first enthusiasm for His Word.”
Remembering the first encounter with Jesus
So, he continued, the Lord reminded the crowd of their first encounter with the Word, and “He corrected the path of the people who had taken a more worldly, rather than evangelical, path.”
This happens to us too, the Pope warned, when we move away from the path of the Gospel and we lose the memory of our first enthusiasm for the Word of the Lord.
But Jesus, he said, asks us to go back to that first encounter: “This is a grace when faced with temptations.”
And the Pope highlighted the grace of “always returning to that first call, when Jesus looked at us with love.”
“Each of us has the experience of that first encounter in which Jesus said: follow me,” he said.
Along the way, he continued, we move away, “we forget,” and we lose the freshness of that first call.
Returning to Galilee
Pope Francis invited the faithful to pray that the Lord might give us the grace to return to the moment in which we had our first experience of encounter with Jesus.
He recalled how Jesus told the women who went to the tomb early on Easter morning to go and tell his disciples “to go to Galilee and there, they will find me” (see Matthew 28:10).
Galilee, he said, was the place of their first meeting with Jesus.
“Each one of us has our own Galilee within us”, the Pope concluded, “that specific moment in which Jesus drew close… looked on me with love, and said to me: ‘follow me.’”