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Pope Francis: Jesus prays, chooses, is close to His people

2014-09-10 Vatican Radio

Jesus is not a professor who speaks from the professor’s chair; rather, He goes among the people and lets them touch Him so that they can be healed. That was Pope Francis’ message at Mass this morning at Santa Marta.

Listen to Christopher Wells' report: 

Commenting on the day’s Gospel, Pope Francis reflected on three moments in the life of Jesus. The first is prayer. Jesus “spent the night in prayer to God.” Jesus prays for us. “It seems a little strange,” the Pope said, “that He who came to give us salvation, who has the power, prays to the Father.” And He prayed often. “Jesus is the great intercessor”:

“He stands before the Father in this moment, praying for us. And this should give us courage! Because in moments of difficulty or of need… [He] is praying: ‘But you are praying for me. Pray for me. Jesus, pray for me to the Father!’ It is His work today: praying for us, for His Church. We often forget this, that Jesus prays for us. This is our strength: to be able to say to the Father, ‘But if you, Father, will not consider us, consider your Son who prays for us.’ From the first moment Jesus prays: He prayed when He was on earth and He continues to pray now for each one of us, for the whole Church.”

After praying, Jesus chooses the twelve Apostles. The Lord says clearly, “It was not you who chose Me; I chose you!” “This second moment,” the Pope said, “gives us courage: ‘I am chosen, I am chosen by the Lord! On the day of Baptism He chose me.’ And Paul, with this in mind, said: ‘He chose me, from my mother’s womb’.” So we Christians have been called:

“These are things of love! Love does not consider whether someone has an ugly face or a beautiful face: it loves! And Jesus does the same: He loves and chooses with love. He chooses all. In His list, no one is ‘important’ – in inverted commas – according to the criteria of the world: it is the common people. But there is one thing, yes, one thing to emphasize about all of them: they are sinners. Jesus has chosen sinners. He chooses sinners. And this is the accusation made by the doctors of the law, the scribes: ‘This man goes to eat with sinners, he talks to prostitutes…’ Jesus calls everyone! Let us call to mind the parable of the wedding of the son. When those who were invited did not come, what did the master of the house do? The Gospel says he told his servants: ‘Go out and bring everyone to the house, good and bad.’ Jesus has chosen everyone.”

Jesus, the Pope continued, even chose Judas Iscariot “who became the traitor… the greatest sinner toward Him. But he was chosen by Jesus.”

Then there was the third moment: “Jesus near to the people.” They came in great multitudes “to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases… Everyone in the crowd sought to touch Him because power came forth from Him and healed them all.” Jesus is in the midst of His people:

“He is not a professor, a teacher, a mystic who is far from the people and speaks from the professor’s chair [It: cattedra]. No! He is in the midst of the people, He lets them touch Him, He lets them ask of Him. That’s Jesus: close to the people. And this nearness is not something new for Him. He emphasizes it in His way of acting, but it is something that comes out of God’s first choice of His people. God says to His people, ‘Consider: What people has a God as close as I am to you?’ God’s closeness to His people is the closeness of Jesus amid the crowds.”

“This is our Master, this is our Lord,” the Pope concluded. “One who prays, one who chooses the people, and one who is not ashamed to be close to the people. And this gives us confidence in Him. Let us trust in Him because He prays, because He has chosen us, and because He is close to us.”

(From archive of Vatican Radio)