Following Jesus isn’t complicated but it does takes courage, Pope Francis has said in recent morning Mass homilies at the Vatican.
The Pope celebrated Mass on Saturday with volunteers who work at a Vatican pediatric clinic for immigrants and the poor, and on Monday with the staff of the Vatican press office. Both Masses were held in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the Pontiff currently lives.
“Sometimes we are tempted to be too much our own bosses and not humble children and servants of the Lord,” the Pope said during Monday’s Mass, according to Vatican Radio.
In the day’s Gospel reading (Jn 10:1-10), Jesus describes himself as the “gate for the sheep” and talks about thieves and robbers who try to climb over or under the fence to get into the sheepfold.
Pope Francis explained that there is a constant temptation to “find other gates or windows for entering into the kingdom of God, but one can enter only through that gate called Jesus.”
Even within the Christian community, he said, there are “climbers,” who want to give themselves glory or choose a path to happiness that isn’t Christ.
“Some of you may say: ‘Father, you’re a fundamentalist.’ No, simply put, this is what Jesus said,” the Pope told the congregation.
The way to show that you have entered the fold through Christ, he added, is to be living examples of the beatitudes, “be poor, be meek, be just” and “do what Matthew 25 says” by feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and visiting prisoners.
Two days earlier, celebrating Mass with the pediatric clinic volunteers, Pope Francis spoke about “lukewarm Christians,” who consciously or not, try to build a church to their own liking, demanding it measure up to their expectations rather than trying to live up to its expectations.
The Acts of the Apostles (9: 31) describes the early Christian community as walking “in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit,” which Pope Francis said means living with a sense of God’s presence and in adoration of the Lord.
“When we are in the presence of God, we do not do bad things or make bad decisions. We are in God’s sight with joy and happiness,” he said. “This is the security of the Holy Spirit, that is the gift that the Lord has given us, this comfort, that keeps us going.”