VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The journey of faith always begins a little selfishly, seeking from God healing or help with a problem, but Christian maturity is allowing oneself to be purified and to arrive at the point of recognizing Jesus as savior, Pope Francis said.

Celebrating Mass Jan. 22 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives, Pope Francis commented on Gospel stories that recount how the crowds flocked to Jesus hoping for healing.

“We can never follow God with a purity of intentions from the beginning,” the pope said. “It’s always a little for ourselves and a little because of God. To journey is to purify these intentions.”


Pope Francis, according to Vatican Radio, told the small congregation that the crowds originally followed Jesus because they were “a bit bored” by the way the Jewish elders of their day were teaching the faith and they felt oppressed by “the many commandments and precepts that were laid on their shoulders, but never reached their hearts.”

But when they saw and heard Jesus, “they felt something move inside them,” he said. “It was the Holy Spirit who awakened this and they went out to find Jesus.”

The way Jesus spoke and the physical healings he performed, the pope said, were simply signs of “another healing,” the definitive healing that led the people to a deeper relationship with God and to recognition that Jesus is the savior.

“He is the savior and we are saved by him. This is the most important thing,” the pope said. “This is the strength of our faith.”

“When we, for one reason or another, are feeling down, we should remember that Jesus prays for us and intercedes for us continually,” Pope Francis said. “So often we forget this.”