John Paul I (©Catholic Press Photo)

Pope Luciani, The "beautiful church with a happy face"

Pope Francis' homily at the beatification of John Paul I. St. Peter's Square, September 4, 2022.
Pope Francis

Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem, and today’s Gospel tells us that “large crowds were travelling with him” (Lk 24:25). To travel with Jesus means to follow him, to become his disciples. Yet, the Lord’s message to those people was not exactly appealing; in fact, it was quite demanding: whoever does not love him more than his or her own family, whoever does not carry the cross, whoever remains attached to earthly goods, cannot be his disciple (cf. vv. 26-27.33). Why does Jesus say these things to the crowds? What do these admonitions mean? Let us try to answer these questions.

First, we see a great crowd of people following Jesus. We can imagine that many were attracted by his words, astonished at the things he did, and saw him as a source of hope for the future. What would any teacher of that time or, for that matter, what would any astute leader do, seeing that his or her words and charisma attract crowds and increase his or her popularity? The same thing happens today, at times of personal or societal crisis, when we are especially prey to feelings of anger or we fear things that threaten our future. We become more susceptible and thus, on the tide of emotion, we look to those who can shrewdly take advantage of the situation, profiting from society’s fears and promising to be the “saviour” who can solve all its problems, whereas in reality they are looking for wider approval and for greater power, based on the impression they make, their ability to have things in hand [...]

Continue reading on