Pope in Santa Marta: When the pastor is accused, he offers his life and prays

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In his homily at Casa Santa Marta Pope Francis reflected on Jesus Christ's meekness and tenderness towards others, even when persecuted by them. 

“The pastor, in difficult moments, in the moments when the devil is unleashed, where the pastor is accused, but accused by the Great Accuser through so many people, so many powerful, suffers, offers his life and prays.”

Pope Francis invited pastors to imitate Jesus in being close to the people, not near to the powerful or ideologues whom, he says, “poison souls.”

(Source: Vatican News)

What gave Jesus authority, Pope Francis explained, was that “he spent most of his time on the road”, touching, embracing, listening and looking at the people in the eye. “He was near them”, the pope said. “this is what gave him authority.”

Jesus taught the same thing that many others taught, the pope continued. It was how he taught that was different. Jesus “was meek, and did not cry out. He did not punish the people.” He never trumpeted the fact that he was the Messiah or a Prophet. “In the Gospel, when Jesus was not with people, he was with the Father praying”, Pope Francis said. His meekness toward the Father was expressed when he “visited the house of his Father which had become a shopping mall….” He was angry and threw everyone out, the pope said. “He did this because he loved the Father, because he was humble before the Father.”

Jesus was overcome with compassion for the widow. Jesus “thought with his heart”, which was not separated from his head, Pope Francis said. Then Jesus tenderly touches her and speaks to her, “Do not weep”. “This is the icon of the pastor”. The pastor “needs to have the power and authority that Jesus had, that humility, that meekness, that nearness, the capacity to be compassionate and tender,” the pope said.

That prayer carried him even to the Cross, with strength; even there he had the capacity of drawing near to and healing the soul of the repentant thief.

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