Thursday, September 15, 2016

“It is sad to see pastors turn into princes who are out of touch with people”

“It is sad for the Church when pastors turn into princes who are out of touch with people and the destitute…” 

At today’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square Pope Francis recalled Jesus’ invitation to those who are “weary and oppressed” and those who “have no resources of their own or friends in high places to help them”. Jesus offers them “comfort”.

The Pope went through the three invitations Jesus extends to people: (“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”…), “Come to me”, “take my yoke upon you” and “learn from me”. “If only world leaders could say this!” Francis remarked.

“Addressing the weary and oppressed, Jesus presents Himself as the Lord’s Servant, as described in the Book of Isaiah” and “the Gospel often groups the discouraged, the poor and the little ones together. All of them lack resources of their own or friends in high places to help them. The only one they can trust in is God. Aware of their own humble and miserable condition, they know they can depend on the mercy of the Lord, aware that he is the only one who can help them. Their expectations receive a response in Jesus’ invitation: by becoming his disciples they receive the promise of finding comfort for the rest of their life,” a promise that is extended “to all peoples” at the end of the Gospel. This is evident from all the pilgrims who are marking the Jubilee of Mercy by passing through the holy doors of cathedrals, churches across the world and also “hospitals and prisons” because they find that “comfort which only Jesus is able to offer,” Francis said.

Through his words “take my yoke upon you”, Francis explained, “Jesus goes against the Scribes and the Pharisees and places his yoke on his disciples. In this yoke, the Law is fulfilled. Jesus wishes to teach them that they will discover God’s will through Him, not through laws and a set of cold rules that Jesus Himself condemns.”

Finally, “Jesus is not a strict teacher who imposes burdens on others, which he himself does not bear; this is the accusation he made against the doctors of the law. He addresses the humble and the small because he himself became small and humble. He understands the poor and the suffering, because he himself is poor and tested by pain. Saving humanity wasn’t a walk in the park for Jesus; on the contrary, the path he took was a painful and difficult one. The yoke which the poor and oppresses bear is the same yoke he carried before them: hence it is a light yoke. He shouldered the pains and sins of all humanity”. Jesus “was close to everyone, to the destitute, he was a pastor who lived among the people, among the poor, working all day long with them, Jesus was no prince…it is sad,” the Pope added in an off-the-cuff comment, “when pastors turn into princes who are out of touch with people and the poor. This is not in line with the spirit of Jesus, it was these pastors Jesus reprimanded and the pastors Jesus referred to when he would tell people: do what they tell you but not what they do.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, we too go through moments of weariness and disappointment,” the Pope concluded. “During such times, let us remember these words of the Lord, which offer us comfort and help us to understand whether we are striving for what is good. Sometimes, we become weary because we have placed our faith in things that lack importance, because we have lost touch with what is really important in life.” “Let us not lose the joy of being the Lord’s disciples. ‘But father, I am a sinner…’: let yourself go in Jesus, feel his mercy upon you and your heart will overflow with joy and forgiveness. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the hope of living this life with Him, with the strength of his comfort.”

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