In his daily homily, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of Christian discipleship, emphasizing the need for Christians to follow Jesus with their entire lives, not just intellectually.
“Jesus didn’t say to Peter and to his Apostles, ‘Know me!’ he said, ‘Follow me!’ And this following of Jesus makes us know Jesus,” explained Pope Francis on Feb. 20 to those gathered in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence.
As the Pope reflected on Peter’s relationship with Jesus throughout the gospels, he noted that it can be seen as “a long road, a road of grace and sin, a disciple’s road.”
Peter’s response to Jesus’ question, “who do you say that I am?” had to be answered not with academic knowledge, but with his life, “after humiliation.”
“Peter went along with Jesus, he saw the miracles that Jesus was doing, he saw his power…but at a certain point, Peter renounced Jesus, he betrayed Jesus,” recounted the Pontiff.
Through these experiences, Peter learned “wisdom – that of weeping, that of tears.”
Like Peter, every Christian must learn “to follow Jesus in our virtue, and even in our sin, but to always follow Jesus.”
The path of discipleship does not exclude intellectual knowledge, however.
“It is important to study and to know” things like the catechism, acknowledged Pope Francis. But knowledge alone “is not sufficient.” Rather, what is necessary is “a daily meeting with the Lord, every day, with our victories and our weaknesses.”
“Many times, Jesus turns to us and asks, ‘but who am I for you?’” said the Pope. In order not to reply with only “that which we have learned in the catechism,” we must recognize our need for divine assistance.
The “long road” of the Christian life is “a journey that we cannot make alone.” Instead, we must turn to the Trinity for aid.
“To know Jesus is a gift of the Father, and he makes us know Jesus. It is a work of the Holy Spirit,” emphasized Pope Francis.
Moreover, the Holy Spirit does not act as a kind of external “union organizer” but rather one who “works in us always. He does this work to unfold the ministry of Jesus” in our lives.
Then the Pope asked the congregation to consider the gospel calling in their personal lives.
“Let us look at Jesus, Peter, the apostles, and let us hear in our hearts this question: ‘Who am I for you?’”
“Like the disciples, let us ask the Father to give us the knowledge of Christ in the Holy Spirit,” he concluded.