pottery figure of infant in swaddling clothes by Janet Lukos

Our God Hides Himself

by Pope Francis

God comes to save us. He finds no better way to do so than to walk with us, living our life, and at the moment of choosing the way to live his life, he didn’t choose a great city of a great empire.

He didn’t choose a princess or a countess or some other important person for his mother; he didn’t choose a luxurious palace. It seems as if everything was done in near obscurity.

Mary was a girl of 16 or 17, no older, in a faraway village on the outskirts of the Roman Empire, and certainly no one knew of that village.

Joseph was a youth who loved her and wanted to marry her. He was a carpenter, who earned his daily bread. All in simplicity, all in obscurity.

And even his rejection—because they were betrothed and in such a small village, you know how gossip is, it spreads.

Joseph realized that she was pregnant, but he was a just man. Everything was hidden despite the calumny and gossip.

The angel explained the mystery to Joseph: “The child that your bride bears is the work of the Holy Spirit.”

When Joseph awoke from his sleep, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and he went to her and married her (cf. Mt 1:18-25).

All was hidden; all was humble. The great cities of the world knew nothing about it.

This is how God is among us. If you want to find God, seek him in humility, seek him in poverty, seek him where he is hidden: in the neediest, in the sick, in the hungry, in the imprisoned.

And when Jesus preaches life to us, he tells us how we will be judged. He will not say to you: come with me because you made so many fine offerings to the Church. You are a benefactor of the Church, come to heaven. No, the entrance to heaven is not bought with money.

He will not say: You are very important. You have studied so much and received so many honors. Come to heaven. No. Honors do not open the door to heaven.

What will Jesus say to open the doors of heaven to us? I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was homeless and you gave me a home. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me (cf. Mt 25: 35-36). Jesus exists in humility.

Excerpted from a homily at a Mass at a homeless shelter located in Termini Station, the largest railway station in Rome. The occasion was the opening of the Holy Door there at the beginning of the Year of Mercy.