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Pope ponders what made Jesus indignant

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Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 10/03/21

Surprisingly, it's not the Pharisees, at least this time.

“In the Gospel of today’s Liturgy we see Jesus react somewhat unusually: He is indignant,” Pope Francis noted before praying the midday Angelus on October 3.

“And what is most surprising,” he continued, “is that his indignation is not caused by the pharisees who put him to the test with questions about the legality of divorce, but by his disciples …”

The Holy Father explained how the disciples made Jesus indignant by preventing children from approaching and being with him.

“Why? It is a good question: why does the Lord do this?”

Pope Francis recalled how Jesus identifies himself with little ones.

Those who seek God find him there, in the little ones, in those in need: in need not only of material goods, but of care and comfort, such as the sick, the humiliated, prisoners, immigrants, the incarcerated. He is there: in the little ones. This is why Jesus gets angry: any affront to a little one, a poor person, a child, a defenceless person, is done to Him.

But there’s a further reason

Today’s Gospel goes even further, the Pope explained. Jesus teaches that “the disciple must not only serve the little ones, but also acknowledge himself as a little one.”

Do we recognize ourselves as small before God? Let’s think about it, it will help us. Awareness of being little, awareness of the need of salvation is indispensable for receiving the Lord. It is the first step in opening ourselves up to Him.

Prosperity can give us the illusion of self-sufficiency, making us think we don’t need God, the Pope warned. But “this is a deception, because each one of us is a person in need, a little one. We must seek out our smallness and recognize it. And there, we will find Jesus.

In life, recognizing one’s littleness is a starting point for becoming great. If we think about it, we grow not so much on the basis of our successes and the things we have, but above all in difficult and fragile moments. There, in our need, we mature; there we open our hearts to God, to others, to the meaning of life. […] When we feel small in the face of a problem, small in front of a cross, an illness, when we experience fatigue and loneliness, let us not get discouraged. The mask of superficiality is falling and our radical weakness is re-emerging: it is our common ground, our treasure, because with God weakness is not an obstacle but an opportunity.

A beautiful prayer would be this: “Lord, look at my frailties…” and to list them before Him. This is a good attitude before God.

Difficulties and weakness are “privileged opportunities to experience His love,” Pope Francis emphasized. “Those who pray with perseverance know this well: in dark or lonely moments, God’s tenderness towards us makes itself, so to speak, even more present. When we are little, we feel God’s tenderness more. This tenderness gives us peace; this tenderness makes us grow, because God draws close to us in His way, which is nearness, compassion and tenderness.”

The Pope concluded by recommending that we “ask the Virgin Mary for a huge grace, that of littleness: to be children who trust the Father, certain that He will not fail to take care of us.”

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Pope Francis
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