CNS photo/Vatican Media

In his homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis urges the faithful to do all that is necessary to truly know Jesus.

February 20, 2020

During his daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on two questions from the daily Gospel reading: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”

The Pope said that the Gospel teaches us the three steps that help us learn who Jesus truly is. These are to know, to confess and to accept the path that God has chosen for Him.

Pope Francis said that knowing Jesus is what we all do “when we read the Gospel when we take children to catechesis… to Mass”. However, this, he said, “is only the first step”. The second is to publicly acknowledge Jesus, and

in order to do so, he continued, we need the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit. One cannot do so alone and “therefore the Christian Community must always seek the power of the Holy Spirit to confess Jesus, to say that He is God, that He is the Son of God”.

But what is the purpose of Jesus’ life, why has He come, asked the Pope. Answering this question means making the third step on the way to knowing Him. And the Pope recalled that Jesus began to teach His apostles that He had to suffer, be killed and then rise again.

Confessing Jesus is confessing his death, his resurrection; it is not confessing: “You are God” and stopping there. No: “You came for us and you died for me. You are resurrected. You give us life, You promised us the Holy Spirit to guide us”. Confessing Jesus means accepting the path that the Father has chosen for Him: humiliation. Paul, writing to the Philippians, says that God sent his Son, who “ emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…He humbled himself, even unto death, death on a cross”. If we do not accept the path of Jesus, the path of humiliation that He has chosen for redemption, not only are we not Christians: we deserve what Jesus said to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan!”

Pope Francis noted that Satan knows that Jesus is the Son of God, but that He refuses his “confession” in the same that He pushes Peter away from Him when he rejects the path chosen by Jesus. Confessing Jesus means following the path of humility and humiliation. “When the Church does not follow this path, she is in error, and becomes worldly.”

The Pope concluded his homily with the invitation to ask for “the grace of Christian consistency”, the grace to follow Jesus in His own way, even to humiliation.

By Francesca Merlo

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