During his daily mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis reminded those present that following Jesus is not a calling to power, but a calling to follow the way of the Cross.
The Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Rino Fisichella and Msgr. José Octavio Ruiz Arenas, president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, respectively. Also in attendance were a group of priests from the Council and staff from the Vatican Power Station and Technical Laboratory of the Governorate of Vatican carpentry, accompanied by Engineer Pier Carlo Cuscianna, Director of Technical Services of the Governorate.
Placing emphasis on the Gospel of the day, the Holy Father recalled the words of Christ who said that those who follow Him will receive “many good things” but “with persecution.”
“The path of the Lord is a road of humility, a road that ends in the Cross,” the Pope said.
“That is why there will always be difficulties,persecution. There will always be, because He travelled this road before us. The Holy Father went on to say that a Christian when a Christian lives a life with no difficulties, “when everything is beautiful – something is wrong.”
Pope Francis told the faithful present at the Mass that such a temptation to worldliness is a “temptation particular to Christians.”
“Following Jesus, yes, but up to a certain point: following Jesus because of culture: I am a Christian, I have this culture,” the Pontiff said. “But without the necessity of true discipleship of Jesus, the necessity to travel this His road. If you follow Jesus as a cultural proposal, then you are using this road to get higher up, to have more power. And the history of the Church is full of this, starting with some emperors and then many rulers and many people, no? And even some – I will not say a lot, but some – priests, bishops, no? Some say that there are many … but they are those who think that following Jesus is a career.”
The Holy Father warned that the temptation to worldliness can make Christians believe that following Christ can become a career. Such thinking, he continued, “is not the spirit.” “You cannot remove the Cross from the path of Jesus, it is always there," the Pope said.
“Think of Mother Teresa: what does the spirit of the world say of Mother Teresa? ‘Ah, Blessed Teresa is a beautiful woman, she did a lot of good things for others’. The spirit of the world never says that the Blessed Teresa spent, every day, many hours, in adoration. Never! It reduces Christian activity to doing social good. As if Christian life was a gloss, a veneer of Christianity. The proclamation of Jesus is not a veneer: the proclamation of Jesus goes straight to the bones, heart, goes deep within and change us. And the spirit of the world does not tolerate it, will not tolerate it, and therefore, there is persecution. “
“Following Jesus,” the Pope concluded, “is just that: going with Him out of love, behind Him: on the same journey, the same path. And the spirit of the world will not tolerate this and what will make us suffer, but suffering as Jesus did. Let us ask for this grace: to follow Jesus in the way that He has revealed to us and that He has taught us. This is beautiful, because he never leaves us alone. Never! He is always with us.”