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‘The Demands Jesus Sets Before Us Cease Being Burdensome When We Taste Joy of New Life,’ Pope Reminds at Mass in Madagascar

Says Lift Eyes, Adjust Priorities for God to Be Center of Our Lives (Full Homily)

‘The demands that Jesus sets before us cease to be burdensome as soon as we begin to taste the joy of the new life that he himself sets before us’

Pope Francis stressed this today, Sept. 8, 2019, to some one million faithful during the Mass he celebrated in the Soa Mandrakizay diocesan field in Antananarivo, Madagascar, during his second full day of his visit to the country, during his 31st Apostolic Trip.

Francis is traveling to the African nations of Mozambique, Madagascar and the island of Mauritius, Sept. 4-10, 2019.

Today, the Church also celebrates the Blessed Mother’s Nativity.

The Holy Father began by explaining three demands of Jesus, the first having to do with family relationships, the second having to do with not identifying Kingdom of God with our own agenda, and the third having to do with being grateful.

“With these demands, the Lord,” the Holy Father underscored, “asks us to lift our gaze, to adjust our priorities and, above all, to make room for God to be the center and axis of our life.”

When speaking about the second demand, Francis noted how we cannot follow Christ if we are attached “to an ideology that would abuse the name of God or of a religion to justify acts of violence, segregation and even murder, exile, terrorism and marginalization.”

The Pope noted that as we look around us, we must recognize how many men and women, young people and children are suffering and in utter need. “This is not part of God’s plan!”

We Christians, he stressed, “cannot stand with arms folded in indifference, or with arms outstretched in helplessness.”

Bids Us

The Word of God today, Francis stressed, dares us to take a leap and adopt the wisdom of personal detachment as the basis for social justice and for our personal lives. Together, he said, we can resist all those forms of idolatry that make us think only of “the deceptive securities” of power, career, money and glory.

“The demands that Jesus sets before us cease to be burdensome as soon as we begin to taste the joy of the new life that he himself sets before us.”

This, he noted, is the joy “born of knowing that he is the first to seek us at the crossroads, even when we are lost like the sheep or the prodigal son.”

“May this humble realism,” the Pontiff prayed, “inspire us to take on great challenges and give you the desire to make your beautiful country a place where the Gospel becomes life, and where life is for the greater glory of God.”

Pope Francis concluded, encouraging: “Let us commit ourselves and let us make the Lord’s plans our own,” he said.


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On Mary’s Nativity, Pope Prays She Accompanies Madagascar’s Journey in Peace & Hope (Full Angelus)

About 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, at times from the papal flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio, Sky, and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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