20 Jan Jesus Chose to be a Servant
by Pope Francis
The first thing that I wanted to share with you is the joy of having Jesus as Teacher and as a model for our lives. Let us look to him. This gives us so much strength and consolation in our weaknesses, in our misery and in our difficulties.
We all have difficulties, all of us …. All of us here—all of us—have miseries and all of us here have weaknesses. No one here is better than another. We are all equal before the Father, all of us!
1) Looking at Jesus we see he chose the path of humility and service …. He decided to become man and as a man to become a servant until his death on the Cross.
This is the way of love; there is no other. Therefore we see that love is not simply social assistance and especially not social assistance to reassure our consciences.
No, that is not love. That is business, those are transactions. Love is free. Charity, love, is a choice. It is a way of being, a way of life, it is a path of humility and of solidarity. There is no other way for this love to be….
Why? Because we priests invented it? No! It was Jesus; he said it .…
Christ’s humility is real; it is the choice of being small, of staying with the lowliest and with the marginalized, of staying among all of us sinners ….
This is not an ideology. It is a way of being and a way of life that comes from love and from God’s heart.
This is the first point and I am very pleased to speak to all of you. Let’s look at Jesus: he is our joy but also our strength, our certainty because he is the sure path: ….
2) It is not enough to look, we must also follow.… Jesus is the path and a path is for walking and following…
We cannot follow Jesus on the path of love unless we first love others, unless we force ourselves to work together, to understand each other, and to forgive each another, recognizing our own limits and mistakes.
We must do works of mercy and do them with mercy. Putting our hearts in them. Works of charity with love, with tenderness and always with humility!
Do you know what? Sometimes we also find arrogance in serving the poor. I am sure that you all have seen this; arrogance in serving those who are in need of our service.
Some put on a show; they say what they do with the poor. Some exploit the poor for their own personal interests or the interests of their group.
I know this; it is human but it is not right! This is not Jesus’ way. And I will tell you more: this is a sin! It is a grave sin because it is using the poor, those who are in need, who are Jesus’ flesh, for my own vanity. I use Jesus for my vanity and this is a grave sin!
It would be better if these people stayed home!
Therefore follow Jesus on the path of charity, going with him to the existential outskirts. …
For the Good Shepherd what is far, what is on the margins, what is lost and unappreciated is the object of greater care, and the Church cannot but make her own this special love and attention. The first in the Church are those who are the most in need, humanly, spiritually, materially.
3) Finally, by following Christ on the path of charity, we spread hope. Spreading hope: this is the third word that I would like to share with you. Today, society is in great need of hope….
As Church, we all have a strong responsibility to spread hope through works of solidarity, always seeking to collaborate in the best possible way with public institutions with respect for their respective responsibilities.
I say to you: Courage! Don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope. Keep going! May no one steal hope from you. On the contrary: spread hope.
Thank you, dear friends. I bless you all, together with your families. And I thank you all.
—Excerpted from a talk to the poor and prison inmates in the cathedral of Cagliari, Italy, September 22, 2013