VATICAN CITY (CNS) — People were drawn to Jesus because he was a good shepherd — not a moralist, not power-hungry, not a revolutionary and not a hermit, Pope Francis said.
Jesus “wasn’t embarrassed about talking to sinners, he went to find them” and he felt joy going out, getting close to the people, listening to their problems and offering them healing, the pope said during an early morning Mass June 26 in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
He also clearly and forcefully spoke the truth about God in ways that “astonished” those who listened, warming their hearts so they’d come to love “the things of God,” he said.
According to Vatican Radio, the pope looked at why so many people came to follow Jesus during his lifetime and not the many religious authorities at the time.
The Pharisees, the pope said, overburdened the people with laws and requirements that could often be contradictory and, therefore, “cruel” because it was impossible to adhere to every single moral rule.
The Sadducees, he said, “had lost the faith” and used their religious authority to strike “deals with those in power: political power and economic power. They were men of power.”
The Zealots called for “revolution to free the people of Israel from Roman occupation,” he said, and the Essenes were monks who “were far from the people, and the people couldn’t follow them.”
These four groups “were the voices that reached the people, and none of these voices had the strength to warm the people’s heart,” the pope said.
But with Jesus it was different, he said.
Jesus wasn’t a Pharisee upholding moral laws based on unsound reasoning; he wasn’t “a Sadducee who conducted political business with the powerful, nor a guerrilla who sought the political liberation of his people, nor a monastic contemplative. He was a pastor,” the pope said.
He was “a pastor who spoke the language of his people, he made himself understood, he told the truth — the things of God, he never negotiated the things of God.”
“But he talked about them in such a way that the people loved the things of God. For this reason, they followed him,” he said.
He said the people also followed Jesus because they recognized his authority. He “never strayed from the people and he never strayed from his father.”
He asked that people pray and ask God for the grace to be close to Jesus, to follow him and “to be astonished by what Jesus tells us,” the kind of astonishment that comes from “finding something good and great.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Pope: Everyone must have more access to scientific knowledge, training
NEXT: British high court rejects challenges to assisted suicide laws
Share this story