During his homily at morning Mass in Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of carrying within oneself the joy and patience of Christian faith even in difficult and humiliating circumstances.
The question raised in the Gospel of Luke, which recounted Peter’s profession of faith when Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”, is also asked to us, the Pope told the faithful.
“Who do you say that I am? Who is the author of this phrase; a good prophet, a good teacher, one who who makes your heart feel good?” All of those descriptions may be true, the Holy Father continued, “but it does not end there.”
“It was the Holy Spirit who touched the heart of Peter to say who Jesus was. If he is the Christ, the Son of the living God, it is a mystery, right? Who could explain that […] but the [Holy Spirit] told him. And if each one of us, in your own prayer, looking at the Tabernacle, and says to the Lord: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, firstly, they cannot say it on their own, it must be the Holy Spirit who says it in them. And, secondly, prepare yourself, because He will respond saying: “It is true.”
The Pope recalled that despite Peter’s profession of faith, the Gospel of St. Matthew recounts that later on, when Christ announces his Passion, Death and Resurrection, Peter tells Christ that “this shall never happen.”
Peter, Pope Francis said, “is scared, is scandalized; no more and no less than so many Christians who say ‘This will never happen! I will follow you until here.’ It is a way to follow Jesus to know him until a certain point.
“And this is the temptation of spiritual well-being. We have everything: we have the Church, we have Jesus Christ, the Sacraments, the Virgin Mary, everything, a nice work for the Kingdom of Heaven, we are good, everyone. Because at least we need to think this, because if we think the contrary, it is sin! But it is not enough to have spiritual well-being until a certain point. Like that young man who was rich: he wanted to go with Jesus, but until a certain point. What is missing is this last anointing of the Christian, to be a true Christian: the anointing of the Cross, the anointing of humiliation. He humiliated himself until death, death to everything. This is the touchstone, the verification of our Christian reality. Am I a Christian of a well-being culture? Am I a Christian that accompanies the Lord to the Cross? The sign is one’s ability to bear humiliation.
The Holy Father went on to say that many Christians are “blocked” by this scandal of the cross, and instead, complain when they suffer any wrongs, thus, behaving in a way that is contrary to the nature of Christ. A Christian is recognized by their capacity to bear humiliations “with joy and patience”.
There are two paths that Christians may follow, the Pope concluded. Either a Christian who only cares for their own well-being to assure a place in Heaven or “a Christian close to Jesus, on the path of Jesus.”