L'Osservatore Romano

Pope's Morning Homily: You Can't Follow Jesus Standing Still

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Says We Better Get Moving

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You can’t follow Jesus standing still….
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on the Gospel account of the paralytic who is lowered from the roof of the house where Jesus is teaching.
Important Thing: Follow
Francis highlighted how people follow Jesus out of self interest or because they are looking for comfort, conceding that even if no intention is totally pure or perfect, the important thing is to follow Jesus.
People were drawn to Him because of the “things He said and the way he said them. They understood Him. He healed them and many people followed Him to be healed”.
There were times, said Pope Francis, when Jesus admonished people who were more interested in their own well-being than in the Word of God.
No Looking at Life From Balcony
There were other times, the Pope added, when people wanted to make Jesus ‘King,’ thinking He was “the perfect politician!” “But they were wrong and Jesus ‘went away and hid.’ Even so, the Lord let anyone follow Him because He knew that we are all sinners.”
The bigger problem, Francis lamented, “was not with those who followed Jesus,” but with those who stayed where they were.
Francis reiterated how to follow Jesus, we cannot stay still and must be ready to take risks.
Returning to the day’s Gospel reading, Pope Francis said “the men who made a hole in the roof took a risk.” They risked the owner of the house suing them and taking them to court to pay for the damages. They were ready to risk because “they wanted to go to Jesus.”
“The woman who was sick took a risk when she furtively touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak: she risked being ridiculed. But she risked: because she wanted to be cured, “she wanted to reach Jesus. Remember the Canaanite woman.”
“Women risk more than men do!” Francis said, noting, “It’s true: they are better at it! We have to admit that.”
Following Jesus, the Pope went on, “isn’t easy, but it’s wonderful! And it’s always a risk”. There are times, he said, when we risk “being ridiculous”. But we achieve what counts: “our sins are forgiven”.
Beneath whatever request we are making, whether it be for good health or for a solution to a problem, “there’s the desire to be healed in spirit, to be forgiven”. All of us know we are sinners, said Pope Francis, “and that’s why we follow Jesus: to meet Him. So we take risks.”
Ask Yourselves
The Holy Father then asked those present ask themselves some questions:
“Do I take risks, or do I follow Jesus according to the rules of my insurance company?” Francis said if this is your style, it’s not a way to follow Him, because you don’t end up moving, just like those who judge.
Do we follow Jesus because we need something, or do we follow Him because we are ready to risk?”
Francis stressed that this is faith, namely “trusting in Jesus, having faith in Jesus. And with this faith in Him, these men cut a hole in the roof and lowered the stretcher down in front of Jesus so he could cure the sick man”.
“Do I put my faith in Jesus?”, asked the Pope.
“Do I entrust my life to Jesus? Am I walking behind Jesus even if sometimes I seem ridiculous? Or am I sitting still, watching what others are doing?” Am I watching life with a soul that is static, “with a soul that is closed with bitterness and lack of hope?”
Pope Francis concluded, saying we should each be asking ourselves these questions today.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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