Pope Francis on Thursday invited the faithful to let themselves be drawn by Jesus pointing out that Christian life is a daily struggle against temptation.
Speaking during the homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope warned against the temptations that lead us down the wrong path.
Referring to the Gospel reading of the day, Pope Francis said Jesus came to destroy the influence of evil on our hearts.
Recounting the passage from the Gospel of Mark that tells of how large numbers of people followed Jesus with enthusiasm, the Pope posed the question: ‘why were the crowds attracted?’
The Gospel, he said, tells us that some were sick and wanted to be healed but there were also people who liked listening to Jesus because he touched their hearts. This was because, he explained, the Father drew people to Jesus.
So much so, Francis said, Jesus told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. And he said He too was moved because he saw these people as sheep without a shepherd, and thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit the Father was drawing them to the Lord.
And, the Pope emphasized, the reason for which so many people were attracted by Jesus Christ was nothing to do with Apologetics.
Commenting upon the end of the Gospel passage which says ‘whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God”’, Francis said that whenever we try to approach God, the unclean spirits try to prevent us from doing so, and “wage a war against us.”
Those, he said, who feel they are very Catholic and never have temptations, must pray because they are on the wrong path.
“A Christian life without temptations is not Christian, he said: it is ideological, it is Gnostic, but it is not Christian”.
When the Father draws people to Jesus, Pope Francis explained, there is an opposite force that causes conflict.
“That’s why St Paul speaks of Christian life as a struggle: a daily struggle. A fight!” he said: That’s why Jesus came: “to destroy Satan’s empire, the empire of evil”.
He came to destroy its influence in our hearts, the Pope said. So while the Father is attracting you to Jesus, the spirit of evil is seeking to destroy that attraction.
The Pope concluded with the exhortation to fight on and feel the heart that struggles for the victory of Jesus.
“May the Lord give us the grace to know how to discern what is going on in our hearts and to choose the right path upon which the Father draws us to Jesus” he said.