VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Reciting the Angelus prayer July 4 with visitors in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis gave his usual reflection on the day’s Gospel reading and announced a September trip to Hungary and Slovakia, but did not mention that he was about to go to the hospital for surgery.
He ended his midday address with his usual “please, do not forget to pray for me,” but said nothing about going to Rome’s Gemelli hospital for the operation on his colon.
Instead, his talk focused on the story from the Gospel of St. Mark, which recounts how when Jesus taught in the synagogue in Nazareth, the local people were astonished because they thought they knew him; he was simply the carpenter’s son.
“They knew Jesus, but they did not recognize him,” the pope said. “There is a difference between knowing and recognizing.”
People do it all the time, he said. They may know things about someone, encounter him or her occasionally and form an opinion.
But that ordinary, “superficial” knowledge has little to do with recognizing the uniqueness of a person. “We all run this risk: We think we know so much about a person, even worse, we use labels and close the person within our own prejudices,” he said.
People run the same risk with God, Pope Francis said.
Knowing a lot about Jesus, they think “it is enough to repeat the same things as always,” he said. But “this is not enough with God. Without openness to what is new and, above all — listen well — openness to God’s surprises, without amazement, faith becomes a tiring litany that slowly dies out and becomes a habit, a social habit.”
One of those surprises, a fact that has and does scandalize people, is “the incarnation of God, his concreteness, his ‘daily life”” as a human being, the pope said.
“God became concrete in a man, Jesus of Nazareth, he became a companion on the way, he made himself one of us,” he said.
“‘You are one of us,’ we can say to Jesus. What a beautiful prayer,” he said. Because Jesus was human “he understands us, accompanies us, forgives us, loves us so much.”
Sometimes, the pope said, people find “an abstract, distant god is more comfortable, one who does not get involved in situations and who accepts a faith that is far from life, from problems, from society. Or we would like to believe in a ‘special effects’ god who does only exceptional things and always provokes strong emotions.”
“Instead, brothers and sisters, God incarnated himself,” the pope said. “God is humble, God is tender, God is hidden, he draws near to us in the normality of our daily life.”
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