(Photo: Reuters/Osservatore Romano)
Pope Francis said during his homily at the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday that Christians should follow Christ from the heart, and not as if it's a career.
"If you follow Jesus as a cultural proposal, then you are using this road to get higher up, to have more power. And the history of the Church is full of this, starting with some emperors and then many rulers and many people, no? And even some – I will not say a lot, but some – priests, bishops, no? Some say that there are many ... but they are those who think that following Jesus is a career," the Roman Catholic Church leader said, according to Vatican Radio.
The pontiff stressed that Jesus is the way of the cross and that proclaiming his name should go "straight to the heart."
Pope Francis reminded the congregation, which included a group of priests from the Council and staff from the Vatican Power Station and Technical Laboratory, that Peter once asked Jesus, "What is our reward in following you?" – a question that concerns all Christians everywhere. Jesus replied that those who follow him will have "many good things" but "with persecution," the Vatican leader said, adding that the path of the Lord "is a road of humility, a road that ends in the cross."
Just as Christ traveled the road to the cross, Christians should also be ready for difficulties and persecution, he noted. Simply believing in Jesus will be a cause for such persecution, he said, adding that "the spirit of the world" does not tolerate such faith.
"When a Christian has no difficulties in life, when everything is fine, everything is beautiful, something is wrong," the pope warned.
The pontiff continued: "Following Jesus is just that: going with him out of love, behind him, on the same journey, the same path. And the spirit of the world will not tolerate this and what will make us suffer, but suffering as Jesus did. Let us ask for this grace – to follow Jesus in the way that he has revealed to us and that he has taught us. This is beautiful because he never leaves us alone."