Jesus can speak with credibility “because he made himself all things for everyone, close to all of us, he was a pastor who was close to his people, to the poor, who worked all day long together with them; Jesus was not a prince and it is bad for the Church when shepherds become princes, distant from people, away from the poorest. This is not the spirit of Jesus, who rebuked these shepherds and told people to ‘do what they said, but not what they do'” – said Pope Francis during today’s papal audience in St. Peter’s Square.
“Dear brothers and sisters – he went on to say -, we have moments of tiredness and disappointment too and this is when we should remember Jesus’ words, which give us much consolation and help us understand where our endeavors are in service of good. Sometimes, our fatigue is caused by not having put our trust in essential things, by having turned away from what really matters in life. We are called to learn from Jesus what it means to live in mercy and be a tool of of mercy.”
During the papal audience, Bergoglio elaborated on three main points: Jesus’ invitation to follow him, the invitation addressed mainly to the “disheartened of life”, “simple people burdened with a difficult life, people who are in great need”; the invitation to take his “yoke”; and the invitation to “learn from Jesus.” All three of these invitations – Pope Francis noted – are made “in the imperative form.” “I wish all world leaders could say the same” – Pope Francis said after quoting the triple invitation of Christ “come to me, take my yoke and learn from me. The poor and the little ones, those who cannot rely on their own resources nor on important acquaintances; all they can do is have faith in God, aware of his humble condition, they know they depend on the mercy of the Lord and expect help only from him. They find the answer to their expectations in Jesus’ invitation, becoming his disciples, they receive the promise of finding rest for a lifetime, a promise – he remarked – extended to all nations.”
There is also the sense of the Jubilee in these words: “accepting the invitation to celebrate the jubilee, the pilgrims cross the door in cathedrals, hospitals, and prisons, but why do they cross this door? To find Jesus, Jesus’ friendship.” Talking about the “yoke”, the Pope recalled that “this image is traditionally used to indicate the link between the people and God, and the submission of the people to the will of God whose expression is Law.” Yet, “unlike the scribes and the doctors of law – Pope Bergoglio said -, Jesus wants to teach them to find out the will of God through His person, not through laws and cold requirements, which Jesus condemns (see Matthew Chapter 23). Jesus has not walked an easy path to save humanity; on the contrary, his path was painful and difficult”, and “the yoke that burdens the poor and the oppressed is the same yoke that oppressed Jesus before them; hence, it is a light yoke, because He was the one who burdened himself with the weight of the entire humanity”.