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Santa Marta: Pastors Should Mind Their Own Business

Pope Francis Offers Common Sense Advice in May 18 Homily

To listeners, it likely sounded like the advice mom gave you when you were a little kid. But on May 18, 2018, the advice was to pastors (and everyone else) and it came from Pope Francis in his morning homily at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.

“Love, shepherd your flock, and prepare oneself for the cross,” the Pope said as quoted by Vatican News.  And pastors shouldn’t be tempted to go “sticking their nose in other people’s business.”

Although it was the sort of advice Francis might well have received from his own mother, his source for his advice was that dramatic final conversation between Jesus and Peter, recounted in John 21:15-19:

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, 
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Drawing on the gospel, the Pope told the congregation to be prepared for trials. And his advice was the same for bishops as Jesus had for Peter: “love me, tend my sheep, and prepare yourself.”

“Prepare for trials; prepare to leave everything behind, so that another may come and do different things,” the Pope continued. “Prepare yourself for this obliteration in life. And they will carry you along paths filled with humiliation, possibly even to martyrdom. Those who praised you and spoke well of you when you were a pastor will now speak poorly of you because another has come who they like more. Prepare yourself for the cross when they carry you where you do not want to go. Love, tend and prepare yourself. This is a pastor’s directional map, his compass.”

About Jim Fair

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