04/24/2020, 11.24
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Pope prays for teachers and students learning online

"A pastor’s power is his service, he has no other power and when he mistakes this with another power he ruins his vocation and becomes, I don't know, a manager of a pastoral enterprise but not a pastor. The structure does not do the pastoral care: the pastor's heart is what does the pastoral care".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis introduced the mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta with a prayer for the teachers and their pupils connected virtually online and through social media. "We pray today for teachers who have to work so hard to provide lessons via the internet and other digital ways, and we also pray for students who have to take exams in a way they are not used to. Let us accompany them with prayer”.

In his homily, the Pope commented on the passage of the Gospel (Jn 6,1-15) of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, reflecting how a pastor’s true power comes from his service he mistakes this with another power he ruins his vocation and becomes, I don't know, a manager of pastoral enterprise but not a pastor.

By asking where it was possible to buy bread to feed the crowd, Jesus, tests the apostles. "He knew. Here we see Jesus’ behavior towards the apostles. He continually tested them to teach them and, when they moved out of bounds and far from the function they were supposed to carry out, he would stop them and teach them."

"The Gospel is full of these gestures of Jesus towards his disciples, [to help them] grow to become pastors of the people of God, in this case bishops, shepherds of the people of God. And one of the things that Jesus loved most was being with the crowd because this too is a symbol of the universality of redemption. And one of the things that the apostles no longer liked was the crowd because they liked being close to the Lord, hearing the Lord, hearing everything the Lord said.”

"Today they went there to have a day of rest – it says so in the versions of the other Gospels, because all four talk about it ... maybe there were two multiplications of the loaves - and they came from a mission and the Lord said: 'Let's go to rest for a while. And they went there and people noticed where they went to the sea, they camped down in a circle and waited for them there. And the disciples were not happy because people had ruined their 'pasquetta’ [refers to Italian tradition of spending Easter Monday outdoors eating and resting], they could not have this feast with the Lord. Despite (this), Jesus began to teach, they listened, then talked to each other and the hours, hours, hours passed, Jesus spoke and the people were happy. And they said: 'Our celebration is ruined, our rest is ruined' ".

“But the Lord sought closeness to people and sought to form the heart of pastors to closeness with the people of God to serve them. And they, of course, were elected and felt a little like a privileged circle, a privileged class, 'an' aristocracy ', let's say, close to the Lord, and often the Lord made gestures to correct them. For example, let's think with children. They guarded the Lord: 'No, no, no, do not approach children who harass, disturb ... No, children with parents'. What did Jesus do? He said: 'Let the children come'. And they didn't understand. Then they understood. Then I think of the road to Jericho, the man who shouted: 'Jesus son of David, have mercy on me'. And these: 'Close your mouth the Lord is passing by, don't disturb him'. And Jesus says: 'But who is that? Let him come to me." Once again the Lord. And so he taught them about closeness to the people of God”.

"It is true that the people of God tire the pastor, they tire him: when there is a good pastor, things multiply, because people always go to the good pastor for one reason, for the other."

“And Jesus forms, teaches the disciples, the apostles this pastoral attitude which is closeness to the people of God. And the people of God tire us, because they always ask us for concrete things, they always ask you for something concrete, perhaps wrong but they ask you for concrete things. The pastor must take care of these things. The version of the other evangelists when they show Jesus that the hours have passed and the people had to leave because the darkness began, tell us this: 'Dismiss the people to go buy something to eat', just as the dark comes, when the darkness began ... But what did they have in mind? At least have a little celebration among themselves, this is not a bad selfishness, it is understandable, to be with the shepherd, to be with Jesus who is the great shepherd, and Jesus replies, to test them: 'Give them something to eat'. And this is what Jesus says to all the pastors today: 'Give them something to eat'. 'Are they distressed? Do you console them? Are they lost? Give them a way out. Are they wrong? Help them solve the problem ... ' And the poor apostle feels that he must give, give, give, but from whom does he receive? Jesus teaches us, from the same One from whom Jesus received”.

“After this, he dismisses the apostles and goes to pray, to the Father, in prayer. This double closeness of the shepherd is what Jesus tries to help the apostles understand so that they become great shepherds. But often the crowd is wrong and here it is wrong. 'Then people, seeing the sign he had made, said: "This is truly the prophet, the one who comes into the world!". But knowing that they came to take him to make him king, he withdrew again. ' Perhaps - the Gospel does not say - some of the apostles would have said to him: 'But Lord, let's take advantage of this and take power'. Another temptation. And Jesus shows them that that's not the way."

“A pastor’s power is his service, he has no other power and when he mistakes this with another power he ruins his vocation and becomes, I don't know, a manager of a pastoral enterprise but not a pastor. The structure does not do the pastoral care: the pastor's heart is what does the pastoral care. And the heart of the shepherd is what Jesus teaches us now. Today we pray to the Lord for the pastors of the Church so that the Lord always speaks to them, because He loves them so much: May You always talk to us, tell us how things are, explain and above all teach us not to be afraid of the people of God, not to fear being close to them”.

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