On a cloudy Wednesday morning in Rome, Pope Francis celebrated the General Audience in Saint Peter's Square. In his catechesis, he recalled a passage in the Gospel of Matthew where John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the
Messiah, because Jesus' ministry is not what he expected.
Pope Francis said faith cannot be à la carte, and that "when we construct our own image of God, it prevents us from experiencing his real presence before us.”
SUMMARY OF POPE'S CATECHESIS
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In our Gospel passage this morning, John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the Messiah (cf. Mt
11:2-6), since Jesus’ ministry was not what John anticipated; it did not correspond to his expectation of God’s justice.
Jesus responds by telling the disciples to report what they see and hear: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the Gospel is proclaimed to the poor. Jesus shows himself to be the instrument of God’s mercy; he manifests God’s justice by bringing his consolation and salvation to all. God did not send his Son to punish sinners and crush the wicked. Rather he came to invite them to
conversion, so that they too could turn back to God. Jesus then says to John’s disciples: "Blessed is he who takes no offense at me” (Mt 11:6), who does not see in me any obstacle. This happens when we have a false image of the Messiah, when we construct our own image of God, which prevents us from experiencing his real presence among us. Every time we reduce him to our ideas and whims, use his name to justify our interests, seek him only in times of difficulty, then we also lose sight of the fact that faith calls us beyond ourselves to be his missionaries in the world. Let us renew our commitment to remove every obstacle that prevents us from experiencing the merciful works of our Father, and let us ask him for an ever deeper faith so that we may be signs and instruments of his mercy.