Pope Francis greeted many young people in St. Peter's Square, which was full of pilgrims who are celebrating Holy Week in Rome. He didn't miss a group of Argentines who gave him some "mate” before beginning his catechesis.
Then, the pope explained the meaning of Holy Week. He remembered that, paradoxically, Jesus was received with much enthusiasm in Jerusalem.
"Many of the people who came with palms to receive him did so with worldly expectations: they looked for miracles, prodigies, the expulsion of invaders. All of this collapsed before the mystery of the cross. We, on the contrary, believe that from the crucifixion our hope is born again by the strength of his love."
Pope Francis also recalled that Jesus compared his future Passion and death to a seed. He said that if it falls on closed ground nothing happens, but if it breaks and opens, then it becomes a plant that will bear fruit.
"The greatest love is that of one who gives himself unreservedly and gives all that he has. He who puts himself at the service of others is a seed of hope."
He recalled that the way of Christian love is not easy. It means that one must pass by the cross, because it is filled with sacrifices. However, he said that it's worth it, because it fills everyone with hope and joy.
"I want to give you homework for when you get home. It will help us all if we stop before a crucifix, you all have one at home, look at it, and say: 'With you nothing is lost. With you I can always have hope. You are my hope.”
Among the pilgrims there were many from the Univ Congress, which brings together university students from all over the world and these days turns 50 years old.
"It gives me joy to welcome the participants in the 50th congress for university students promoted by the Prelature of Opus Dei, dedicated to reflect on the question of a moving world."
It was the pope's last public appearance before more intense Holy Week ceremonies. Already this Thursday morning, he will celebrate the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica with all the priests of Rome.