Vatican City, Jul 2, 2017 / 04:25 am
On Sunday, Pope Francis said that everyone – lay or religious – must put their relationship with Jesus above all else; and striving to do this, even imperfectly, will help them to be like Christ to the world.
“People need to perceive that for that disciple, Jesus is truly ‘Lord,’ he is truly the center of his life, the whole of his life. It does not matter if, like every human person, he has his limits and even his mistakes – provided he has the humility to recognize them,” the Pope said July 2.
“Any disciple, a layman, a laywoman, a priest, a bishop: a prioritized relationship. Perhaps the first question we need to ask a Christian is: ‘But do you meet with Jesus? Do you pray to Jesus?’ The relationship.”
Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square about the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus in the life of a disciple. Before leading the Angelus, he reflected on the day’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus sends his disciples out to be missionaries for the first time.
“In this final part, Jesus emphasizes two essential aspects for the life of the missionary disciple,” Francis said, “the first, that his bond with Jesus is stronger than any other bond; the second, that the missionary does not carry himself alone, but Jesus, and through him the love of the heavenly Father.”
The Pope pointed out that these two aspects of discipleship are intricately linked, because the more a Christian puts Jesus at the center of his heart and his life, the more clearly he radiates the presence of Christ in the world.
In the Gospel, we hear Jesus say: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…” This isn’t to say these relationships aren’t good, but “the affection of a father, the tenderness of a mother, the sweet friendship between brothers and sisters, all this…cannot be put before Christ,” he emphasized.
And this isn’t because God wants us to be deprived of love and gratitude for our families, he continued, but because the condition of a disciple requires prioritizing our relationship with Jesus above all else.