Sunday, October 21, 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today's Gospel page (cf. Mk 10: 35-45) describes Jesus who, once again and with great patience, tries to correct his disciples by converting them from the mentality of the world to that of God. The opportunity is given to him by the brothers James and John, two of the very first that Jesus met and called to follow him. By now they have come a long way with him and belong to the group of the twelve Apostles. Therefore, while they are on their way to Jerusalem, where the disciples are anxiously hoping that Jesus, on the occasion of Easter, will finally establish the Kingdom of God, the two brothers become courageous, approach and address their request to the Master: « Grant us to sit, in your glory, one on your right hand and one on your left "(v. 37).
Jesus knows that James and John are animated by great enthusiasm for him and for the cause of the Kingdom, but he also knows that their expectations and their zeal are polluted, by the spirit of the world. Therefore he answers: "You do not know what you are asking" (v. 38). And while they spoke of "thrones of glory" on which to sit next to Christ the King, He speaks of a "cup" to drink, of a "baptism" to be received, that is, of his passion and death. James and John, always aiming for the privileged hoped, say of impulse: yes, "we can"! But, even here, they do not really realize what they say. Jesus announces that his cup will drink it and his baptism will receive it, that is that they too, like the other Apostles, will participate in his cross, when their time comes. However - concludes Jesus - "to sit on my right or on my left is not for me to grant it; it is for those for whom it was prepared "(v.40). How to say: now follow me and learn the way of love "at a loss", and the heavenly Father will think about it. The way of love is always "at a loss", because to love means to leave aside selfishness, self-referentiality, to serve others.
Jesus then realizes that the other ten Apostles are angry with James and John, thus proving to have the same worldly mentality. And this offers him the inspiration for a lesson that applies to Christians of all time, even for us. He says: "You know that those who are considered the rulers of the nations dominate over them and their leaders oppress them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be the first among you will be a slave to all "(v. 42-44). It is the rule of the Christian. The message of the Master is clear: while the great of the Earth build themselves "thrones" for their own power, God chooses an awkward throne, the cross, from which he reigns giving life: "The Son of Man - says Jesus - did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many "(v. 45).
The way of service is the most effective antidote against the disease of the search for the first places; it is medicine for climbers, this search for the first places, which infects so many human contexts and does not spare even the Christians, the people of God, even the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Therefore, as disciples of Christ, we welcome this Gospel as a call to conversion, to witness with courage and generosity a Church that bows at the feet of the last, to serve them with love and simplicity. May the Virgin Mary, who fully and humbly adhered to the will of God, help us to joyfully follow Jesus on the path of service, the high road that leads to Heaven.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday, in Malaga (Spain), the Jesuit priest Tiburzio Arnáiz Muñoz, founder of the Missionaries of Rural Doctrines, was beatified. We thank the Lord for the testimony of this zealous minister of reconciliation and tireless announcer of the Gospel, especially among the humble and the forgotten. His example impels us to be agents of mercy and courageous missionaries in every environment; his intercession supports our journey. To the Blessed Tiburti applause, everyone!
Today we celebrate World Mission Day on the theme "Together with the young we bring the Gospel to all". Together with the young: this is the way! And it is the reality that, thanks to God, we are experiencing in these days in the Synod dedicated to them: listening to them and involving them we discover many testimonies of young people who found the meaning and joy of life in Jesus. And often they met him thanks to other young people, already involved in his company of brothers and sisters that is the Church. We pray that the new generations should not miss the proclamation of the faith and the call to collaborate in the mission of the Church. I think of many Christians, men and women, lay people, consecrated persons, priests, bishops, who have spent their lives and spend it still far from their homeland, announcing the Gospel. To them our love, our gratitude and our prayer. We pray for them an "Ave or Maria"
And now I greet all of you, pilgrims from Italy and from various countries. In particular, those of the diocese of Płock and of the school "San Giovanni Paolo II" of Kartuzy, in Poland; those of Braço do Norte (Brazil), Santa Fe (New Mexico) and the "Saint Chaumond" Lyceum of Poitiers (France). And a group of young people from Buenos Aires and Cordoba, Argentina. I greet the Italian Secular Trinitarian Order and the boys of the "Village of the simple" of San Cataldo, in Sicily. And also the cresimandi of Galzignano, which I see there.
A special thought I address to the group of Caritas Internationalis, led by President Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, with some Bishops and people from various countries of the world. You have made a short pilgrimage to Rome, to express the desire to walk together, thus learning to know each other better. I encourage this initiative of "sharing the journey", which is promoted in many cities and which can transform our relationship with migrants. Many thanks to Caritas!
And I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye.