VATICAN CITY – The throne of Jesus Christ is the cross upon which he gave his life for the world, and those who wish to follow him must be prepared to sacrifice everything, Pope Francis said Sunday.
“The message of the Teacher is clear: while the great of the earth build themselves ‘thrones’ for their own power, God chooses an uncomfortable throne, the cross, from which he reigns giving his life,” the pope said Oct. 21.
“Jesus says, ‘the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”
In his mediation before the Angelus, Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel, in which James and John ask Jesus to grant that they may sit one on his left and one on his right in the Kingdom of God.
“Jesus knows that James and John are animated by great enthusiasm for him and for the cause of the Kingdom, but he also knows that their expectations and their zeal are polluted by the spirit of the world,” he said.
So, Jesus tells them: “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They must learn that to follow Christ requires sacrifice, the pope said, because “the way of love is always ‘at a loss.’”
This lesson, he continued, is not only for James and John, but for all the Apostles, and for Christians of all time, who are infected with the same worldly mentality. As Jesus said: “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.”
“It is the rule of the Christian,” Francis said. “The way of service is the most effective antidote against the disease” of searching to be first, “which infects so many human contexts and does not spare even Christians, the people of God, even the ecclesiastical hierarchy.”
“Therefore, as disciples of Christ, we welcome this Gospel as a call to conversion, to witness to, with courage and generosity, a Church that bows at the feet of the least, to serve them with love and simplicity,” he stated.
After the Angelus, Francis led those present in St. Peter’s Square in praying a ‘Hail Mary’ for those who have given their lives for the faith.
He also praised the witness of Blessed Tiburcio Arnáiz Muñoz, a Jesuit priest and founder of the Missionaries of the Rural Parishes, who was beatified in Malaga, Spain Oct. 20.
“We thank the Lord for the testimony of this zealous minister of reconciliation and tireless announcer of the Gospel, especially among the humble and the forgotten,” the pope said.
“His example impels us to be agents of mercy and courageous missionaries in every environment; his intercession supports our journey.”
He recalled the day’s celebration of World Mission Day, and its theme of “Together with the young we bring the Gospel to all.”
“Together with the young: this is the way!” he emphasized. “And it is the reality that, thanks to God, we are experiencing in these days of the Synod dedicated to them: listening to them and involving them we discover many testimonies of young people who found the meaning and joy of life in Jesus.”
He concluded by greeting the participants of a Rome pilgrimage which took place earlier the same day, which was led by Caritas International and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.
The pilgrimage was part of an initiative called, “Share the Journey,” which promotes fraternity between immigrants and non-immigrants.