On this feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Francis focused this morning's homily on distinguishing Jesus from the other spiritual leaders of this time, saying that His message resonated with common people because his message "went to the heart" of people.AsiaNews is reporting on the sermon the pope gave at Domus Sanctae Marthe this morning in which he reflected upon Jesus ability to draw crowds who were "astonished by His teaching" because His words "brought wonder to their hearts, the wonder of finding something good, great."
There were other spiritual leaders at the time - the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots and Essenes - men who "talked, but they did not reach the people," the pope said.
First, there were the Pharisees who "made religion and the worship of God into a chain of commandments that they loaded upon the backs of the people" the pope said.
Second were the Sadducees, who "did not have the faith, they had lost the faith! They made it their religious work to make deals with those in power, those who held political power, economic power. They were men of power."
The third group, known as the Zealots, were "revolutionaries who wanted to cause a revolution to free the people of Israel from Roman occupation."
The fourth group consisted of the Essenes, "monks who consecrated their lives to God" but "they were far from the people, and the people couldn't follow them."
None of these voices demonstrated the power to warm hearts like Jesus' did. "The crowds were amazed: They heard Jesus and their hearts were warmed. The message of Jesus went to the heart."
Why? Because Jesus "came up to the people." He "healed the heart of the people," He "understood their difficulties" and "felt joy; He was happy to be with His people", the pope said.
"This is why the people followed Jesus, because He was the Good Shepherd. He wasn't a moralistic, quibbling Pharisee, or a Sadducee who made political deals with the powerful, or a guerrilla who sought the political liberation of his people, or a contemplative in a monastery. He was a pastor! A pastor who spoke the language of His people, who understood, who spoke the truth, the things of God. He never trafficked in God's things! He spoke in such a way that the people loved God's things. And that is why they followed Him."
When we contemplate Jesus, especially on this feast day dedicated to His Most Sacred Heart, the pope is asking the faithful to ponder who they want to follow in life.
"Whom would I like to follow? Those who talk to me about abstract things and quibbling morals? Those who talk about the people of God but have no faith and negotiate with those with political [and] economic power? Those who always want to do strange things, destructive things, so-called wars of liberation, but which in the end are not the paths of the Lord? Or a faraway contemplative? Whom would I like to follow?"
Oh Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!
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