We are called "to become God’s co-workers (cf. 1 Cor 3:9). By making good use of the present time (cf. Eph 5:16), we too can sow seeds of goodness. This call to sow goodness should not be seen as a burden but a grace, whereby the Creator wishes us to be actively united with his own bountiful goodness". This is one of the passages that opens the Message of the Holy Father Francis for Lent 2022, entitled "Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all” (Gal 6:9-10), presented this morning at the Holy See Press Office.
Referring to the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis affirms that "a first fruit of the goodness we sow appears in ourselves and our daily lives, even in our little acts of kindness", but - he continues - the real harvest is "the harvest of the last, undying day. The mature fruit of our lives and actions is “fruit for eternal life” (Jn 4:36)".
To illustrate the themes of the Message, Sister Alessandra Smerilli, ad interim Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, Archbishop of Agrigento and Member of the Dicastery, and Fr. Massimo Mostioli, of the Diocese of Pavia, engaged in pastoral care for the Roma in the wake of the experience of fraternity initiated by Don Mario Riboldi, spoke at the Vatican Press Office.
Sister Smerilli noted that "Pope Francis has invited us to be that fertile soil that creates the conditions for the seed to germinate. He has asked us to prepare the future, so that it may be different from the present. And we know that only those who are moved by hope can set to work". And, if in the Virgin Mary "the Son has sprouted" - he added - then the Mother of God confirms this hope in us: "In a world desertified by so many unscrupulous power games, in Mary the Church recognises the fruitfulness that the path of conversion can give to each of her daughters and sons".
But this hope - according to Cardinal Montenegro - also finds nourishment in Christ's resurrection, which helps us to persevere in sowing, "even when we do not see the fruits of the seed sown in the ground". "Faced with every setback or difficulty that can weaken us," he explained, "Lent reminds us that we can always start again, with the help of God's mercy, we can always get up and resume following the Master.
I am content to till the soil for the sowing of the Word, following in particular the groups of Catholic gypsies," says Father Massimo Mostioli of his apostolate among the Roma. "I approach them for baptisms, communions and confirmations, I celebrate mass and organise days in which we read and pray with the Bible. Following Cardinal Montini's invitation and in the footsteps of Father Riboldi," he concludes, "charity, prudence and patience guide me in bringing the Gospel to them”.