THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON POPE FRANCIS
LIKE A LAMB
January 22, 2014
We face evil in the world, at times even in the faces of those
close to us, working with us, or who are also serving in the
Church. We never repay evil with evil. We never fight fire
with fire (unless it is the fire of the Holy Spirit). We try
to believe the best of others, even those who oppress us.
We bless and not curse our opponents. As Pope Francis says,
evil can only be defeated by love.
That can make us very vulnerable. We will be taken advantage
of. We will appear foolish in the eyes of some. Being defenseless,
we may be “defeated.” But seeming defeat, like
Jesus on the cross, is actually victory, as at the resurrection.
If we remain in Jesus, then weakness is strength. Suffering
is salvific. The cross is a joy to be embraced.
This is also the only way to true freedom, peace and joy.
BEING JESUS' DISCIPLES DOES NOT MEAN LIVING AS A BESIEGED
Vatican City, 19 January 2014 (VIS) –
At midday Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study
to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's
Square and, before the Marian prayer, he commented on today's
Gospel reading in which St. John the Evangelist narrates the
encounter between Jesus and the Baptist by the River Jordan.
The Baptist sees Jesus move through the crowd and recognises
Him as God's envoy, exclaiming, “Behold, the Lamb of
God, who takes away the sin of the world!”.
“The verb translated as 'take away' literally means
'relieve', 'take upon oneself'”, explained the Pontiff.
“Jesus came into the world with a precise mission: to
free it from the bondage of sin, taking upon himself the guilt
of humanity. How? Through love. There
is no other way of defeating evil and sin other than through
love, which leads to giving one's own life for others.
In John the Baptist's account, Jesus has the features of the
Servant of the Lord, who 'has borne our griefs and carried
our sorrows' unto death on the Cross”.
In the Jordan the Baptist encounters a man “who lines
up with the sinners to be baptised, even though he has no
need. A man who God has send to the world as a sacrificial
lamb. In the New Testament, the word 'lamb' is recurrent,
used always with reference to Jesus. This
image of the lamb appears surprising; indeed, an animal that
is certainly not characterised by strength or robustness takes
upon its shoulders such an oppressive burden. The great weight
of evil is removed and taken away by a weak and fragile creature,
a symbol of obedience, docility and defenceless love, to the
point of self-sacrifice. The lamb does not dominate, but instead
it is docile; it is peaceful, not aggressive; it does not
show its claws or bare its teeth when faced with attackers,
but instead suffers and submits. And this is how Jesus is:
like a lamb”.
“What does it mean for the Church, for us today, to
be disciples of Jesus, lamb of God?” asked Pope Francis.
“It is a good task! As
Christians we must replace malice with innocence, force with
love, pride with humility, and prestige with service.
Being disciples of the Lamb means living not like a besieged
citadel, but rather as city set on a mountain, open, welcoming
and supportive. It does not mean adopting a closed attitude,
but rather proposing the Gospel to all, showing by the witness
of our lives that following
Jesus makes us freer and more joyful”