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Pope Francis: audience, “dangerous for leaders to get too attached to people”. “Jesus does not end up being a hostage of people”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

“It is dangerous for leaders to get too attached to people and not distance themselves. Jesus realises it, and does not end up being a hostage of people”. Pope Francis made these off-the-cuff remarks at today’s general audience as he introduced a new series of catechesis dedicated to the Lord’s Prayer. “The Gospels have given us very vivid portraits of Jesus as a man of prayer. Jesus prays”, Pope Francis began. “In spite of the urgency of His mission and the urgency of so many people who turn to Him, Jesus feels the need to withdraw into solitude and pray”. “The Gospel of Mark tells us this detail from the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry”, the Pope noted. “The inaugural day of Jesus in Capernaum ends in a triumphant way. At sundown, huge crowds of sick people come to Jesus: the Messiah preaches and heals. Ancient prophecies and the expectations of so many people who suffer are fulfilled: Jesus is the God who is close to us, the God who liberates us. But that crowd is actually “small if compared to so many other crowds that will gather around the prophet of Nazareth; at times, it is oceanic crowds, and Jesus is the centre of everything. He is the One people are waiting for, the fulfilment of Israel’s hope. “Yet he breaks away”, Pope Francis remarked: “He does not end up being a hostage of the expectations of those who have made him a leader. It is dangerous for leaders to get too attached to people and not distance themselves. Jesus realises it, and does not end up being a hostage of people”. “From his first night in Capernaum, he proves to be an original Messiah”.
“In the last part of the night, when dawn is about to break, the disciples are still looking for Him but cannot find Him. Where is He?”, the Pope asked, commenting on the Gospel account: “Until Peter finally finds Him in an isolated place, completely absorbed in prayer. He told Him: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’. The exclamation seems to be the proof of a unanimous success, the proof of a successful mission. But Jesus tells His disciples that He must go elsewhere; that it is not the people who seek Him, but it is, first of all, He who seeks others. For this reason, He must not take roots, but continue to be a pilgrim on the roads of Galilee. And also a pilgrim to the Father, that is, in prayer. On a journey of prayer. Jesus prays”.

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