Pope: "It is bad for the Church when pastors become princelings, grow distant from the people"

"It is not the spirit of Jesus”, who  instead "reaches out to the humble, to the little ones, the poor, the needy, because he himself  became small and humble. He includes the poor and the suffering because He himself is poor and tried by pain". Those who pass through the Door of Mercy seek Jesus, the friendship of Jesus. "This path expresses the conversion of every disciple who endeavors to follow Jesus. And conversion is always a discovery of God's mercy."


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "It 's bad for the Church when pastors become princelings, grow distant from people, from the poorest: that is not the spirit of Jesus," who instead "reaches out  to the humble, the small, the poor, the needy, because he himself has become small and humble. He includes the poor and the suffering because He himself is poor and tried by pain" said Pope Francis in his catechesis for the general audience today taking a cue from Matthew's Gospel passage in which Jesus says: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

"The invitation of the Lord – he told the 25 thousand people present in St Peter's Square - is striking: he calls out to simple people, those burdened by a difficult life to follow him, he calls out to people who have so many needs and promises them that in Him they will find rest and relief. The invitation is in the imperative form: "come to me", "Take my yoke" and "learn from me”. If only all world leaders could say that! Let us try to grasp the meaning of these expressions”.

"The first imperative is "Come to me”. Addressing those who are weary and burdened, Jesus presents himself as the Servant of the Lord described in the book of the prophet Isaiah. And so he says, the passage from Isaiah: "The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, That I might know how to answer the weary

a word that will waken them  (50.4). The Gospel often places the poor alongside those who have little faith in life (cf. Mt 11,5) and the small (cf. Mt 18,6). all who – unable to count on powerful connections – can rely solely on God (Mt 11:28-30). In their powerlessness, they trust in God’s mercy; they come to Jesus who is their only help.  Jesus invitation is an answer to their waiting: becoming his disciples they receive the promise of finding eternal rest. A promise which at the end of the Gospel is extended to all nations: "Go therefore - Jesus says to the Apostles - and make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:19). Accepting the invitation to celebrate this year of the Jubilee, all across the world pilgrims cross the Door of Mercy opened in cathedrals and shrines and the many churches; in hospitals, prisons ... Why cross this Door of Mercy? To find Jesus, to find the friendship of Jesus, to find the rest that only Jesus gives. This path expresses the conversion of every disciple who endeavors to follow Jesus. And the conversion is always to discover God's mercy. And this mercy is infinite and inexhaustible: great is the mercy of the Lord. Through the Holy Door, therefore, we profess that "love is present in the world and that this love is more powerful than any kind of evil in which man, humanity, the world are involved" (John Paul II, Enc. Dives in Misericordia, 7). "

"The second imperative says: 'Take my yoke'. In the context of the Alliance, the biblical tradition uses the image of the yoke to show the close relationship that binds the people to God and, therefore, the submission to His will expressed in the law. In a controversy with the scribes and the doctors of the law, Jesus asks his disciples to take on his yoke, in which the law is fulfilled. He wants to teach them that they discover the will of God through his person, through Jesus, not through laws and cold requirements that the same Jesus condemns. We can read this chapter 23 of Matthew, right? He is at the center of their relationship with God, he is the heart of relations between the disciples and stands as the center of life for each of us. By taking up the 'yoke of Jesus' every disciple enters into communion with Him and is made a sharer in the mystery of his cross and his destiny of salvation".

"Then comes the third imperative: 'Learn from me'. To his disciples, Jesus promises a path of knowledge and imitation. Jesus is not a teacher who sternly imposes burdens that he does not carry: this was what he accused the lawyers of. He addresses the humble, the small, the poor, the needy because he himself became small and humble. He includes the poor and the suffering because He himself is poor and tried by pain. Jesus has not travelled an easy road to save humanity; on the contrary, his path was painful and difficult. As recalled by the Letter to the Philippians: "He humbled himself and became obedient unto death on the Cross" (2.8). The yoke that the poor and the oppressed carry is the same yoke which he bore before them: for this is an easy yoke. Yet the sorrows and sins of all humanity were on his shoulders. For the disciple, therefore, receiving the yoke of Jesus means to receive his revelation and welcome it: In him God's mercy has taken charge of mankind’s poverty, and in doing so, has gifted everyone the chance of salvation. How is Jesus able to say these things? Because he became everything to everyone, close to all, to the poorest! He was a pastor who was among the people, among the poor ... He worked all day with them. Jesus was not a prince. It is bad for the Church when pastors become princelings, distant from people, from the poorest: that is not the spirit of Jesus. Jesus reproached these pastors, and Jesus told these pastors’ people: Do as they say, not as they do”.

"Dear brothers and sisters, for us there are moments of fatigue and disappointment. Then let us remember these words of the Lord, that give us so much consolation and help us to understand whether we are putting our forces at the service of good. In fact, sometimes our fatigue is caused by having placed our trust in things that are not essential, because we have moved away from what really counts in life. The Lord teaches us not to be afraid to follow him, because the hope that we place in him will not be disappointed. So we are called to learn from him what it means to live in mercy to be instruments of mercy. Living in mercy to be instruments of mercy: to live in mercy, means feeling the need for Christ’s mercy, and when we feel ourselves in need of forgiveness, of consolation, ... the mercy of Jesus, we learn to be merciful to others. "

"Keeping our eyes fixed on the Son of God makes us realize how far we still have to travel; but at the same time it gives us the joy of knowing that we are walking with Him and we are never alone. Have courage, then, eh ?: courage! Let us not lose the joy of being disciples of the Lord ". 'But, Father, I am a sinner, I'm a sinner, what can I do?' - 'Look at the Lord, open your heart, feel His gaze upon you, His mercy, and your heart will be filled with joy, the joy of forgiveness, if you approach asking for forgiveness'. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the hope that we can live this life together with Him and with the strength of His consolation. Thank you".

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