By Francesca Merlo
During his daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on two questions from the daily Gospel reading: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”
Three steps to knowing Jesus
The Pope said that the Gospel teaches us the three steps that help us learn who Jesus truly is. These are to know, to witness and to accept the path that God has chosen for Him.
First step: knowing Jesus
Pope Francis said that knowing Jesus is what we all do “when we read the Gospel, when we take children to catechesis… to Mass”. However, he said, this “is only the first step”.
Second step: witnessing to Jesus
The second is to publicly acknowledge Jesus. In order to do so, he continued, we need the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit. One cannot do so alone and “therefore the Christian Community must always seek the power of the Holy Spirit to witness to Jesus, to say that He is God, that He is the Son of God”.
Third step: accepting Jesus' death
But what is the purpose of Jesus' life? Why has He come? the Pope asked. Answering this question, he said, means taking the third step on the way to knowing Him. And the Pope recalled that Jesus began to teach His apostles that He had to suffer, be killed and then rise again.
"Witnessing to Jesus is bearing witness to His death, His resurrection; it is not proclaiming: 'You are God' and stopping there. No: 'You came for us and you died for me. You are resurrected. You give us life. You promised us the Holy Spirit to guide us'. Witnessing to Jesus means accepting the path that the Father chose for Him: humiliation. Paul, writing to the Philippians, says that God sent His Son, who 'emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave… He humbled himself, even unto death, death on a cross'. If we do not accept the path of Jesus, the path of humiliation that He has chosen for redemption, not only are we not Christians: we deserve what Jesus said to Peter: 'Get behind me, Satan!'
Pope Francis noted that Satan knows well that Jesus is the Son of God, but that Jesus refuses to accept his “witness” in the same way that He distances Peter when he rejects the path chosen by Jesus. "Witnessing to Jesus means accepting the path of humility and humiliation", the Pope emphasized. “The Church makes a mistake when she does not follow this path, she becomes worldly", he said.
The Pope concluded his homily with the invitation to ask for the grace of being consistent as Christians, the grace to follow Jesus on His way to the cross, even to humiliation.