Pope Francis: 'To Know Jesus, One Must Follow Him'

Reflects on Peter as an Example of a True Disciple

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) | 1528 hits

Jesus cannot be known only by studying Him, but rather through following the path of a disciple. Pope Francis emphasized this during his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning.

The Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel which recalled Peter’s profession of faith. “And [Jesus] asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter said to him in reply, ‘You are the Christ.’”, the Gospel of Mark states.

The Gospel later recounts Jesus’ rebuke of Peter when he protested against the prophecy of Christ’s death. The Holy Father said that Peter is a model of a true disciple filled with moments of both virtue and sin. To truly know Jesus, one cannot rely solely on studying Him, but to follow the path of a disciple.

“It seems that to respond to that question that we all feel in our heart: ‘Who is Jesus for us? - that which we learned, studied in catechism - is insufficient. It is important to study it and know it but it is insufficient,” the Holy Father said.  

“To know Jesus it is necessary to do the path that Peter did: after this humiliation, Peter has walked with Jesus, he has seen the miracles that Jesus has done, he has see His power, he caught a fish, found a coin, he has seen so many miracles of that kind. But, at a certain point, Peter denies Jesus, he betrays Jesus, and he learned that difficult science - more than science, wisdom - of tears, of weeping.”

This path of grace and sin, the Pope went on to say, is the fundamental difference between knowing Jesus and following Jesus. Only through following Him do we truly know Him.

“To follow Jesus with our virtue, also with our sins, but always following Jesus. The study of this is not necessary, rather a life of a disciple,” he stressed.

The Holy Father added that knowing Jesus is a gift from God, that can only be facilitated by the intervention of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, he said, is not a trade unionist, but rather a great worker.

The Holy Spirit does this work of "explaining the mystery of Jesus and to give us this sense of Christ,” Pope Francis concluded. “Let us look at Jesus, Peter, the apostles and let us feel in our heart this question: ‘Who am I for you?’ And as a disciple, let us ask the Father to give us the knowledge of Christ in the Holy Spirit, to explain to us this mystery.” (J.A.E.)