VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Priests are called to love, care for others and prepare for the cross, Pope Francis said.
Celebrating Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae May 18, Pope Francis focused his homily on the day’s reading from St. John’s Gospel (21:15-19). Jesus asks Simon Peter three times, “Do you love me,” and each time that Simon Peter replies he does, Jesus tells him to feed and tend his sheep. He then forewarns his disciple that following him would lead to going “where you do not want to go.”
This Gospel passage, the pope said, is “the road map of a pastor, the compass” that must guide his ministry and life journey: “Love me, care (for others) and prepare yourself.”
Love is the essential rule or “grammar” for being “true disciples of the son of God,” he said.
Jesus is telling Peter, “Love me more than the others, love me as you can, but love me. This is what the Lord asks us priests and all of us, too: ‘Love me.’ The first passage in dialogue with the Lord is love,” Pope Francis said.
Tending to and “taking care of” are also essential to the “true identity” of a bishop and priest because they are called to be shepherds, he said.
And, in addition, all those who embrace the Lord are destined to carry the cross, to leave what they have behind, he said.
“Prepare yourself for ordeals, prepare yourself to leave everything so that another may come and do something different. Prepare yourself for this annihilation in life. They will lead you along the path of humiliation, perhaps along the path of martyrdom” or the same people who had once showered them with praise will bad-mouth them, he said.
Get ready for the cross, he said, “when they lead you where you do not want to go.”
The pope ended his homily by warning against the temptation of being nosy and “sticking one’s nose in other people’s lives.”
He also said, “don’t waste time” in cliques or coteries “climbing” the way up in the church. “Love, feed and prepare and don’t fall into temptation.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, 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 join in 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.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103