Jesus frees from the slavery of power, money, pleasure, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Imbued with the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the model for loving and serving others freed from the pursuit of wealth, power or fame, Pope Francis said.

"If we let ourselves be conditioned by the quest for pleasure, power, money or consensus, we become slaves to these things," the pope said before praying the Angelus in St. Peter's Square June 9.

To grow in freedom, Christians should look to the example of Jesus in welcoming God's love into their lives and sharing it with others "without fear, calculation or conditioning," he said.

Although Jesus was met with fear from his relatives and resistance from religious authorities at the outset of his public ministry, Pope Francis said, the Holy Spirit rendered him "divinely free, that is, capable of loving and serving without measure or condition."

Jesus was free in relation to wealth, the pope said, since he left the security of Nazareth "to embrace a poor life full of uncertainties, freely taking care of the sick and whoever came to ask him for help without ever asking for anything in exchange."

Nor did Jesus seek power, Pope Francis noted, since "despite calling many to follow him, he never obliged anyone to do so." The pope added that Jesus never sought the support of the powerful "but always took the side of the last, teaching his disciples to do likewise, as he had done."

Jesus was also free from "the quest for fame and approval," the pope said. "For this reason, he never gave up speaking the truth, even at the cost of not being understood, of becoming unpopular, even to the point of dying on the cross."

Pope Francis encouraged Christians to ask themselves if they are at all imprisoned by the "myths of money, power and success" at the cost of their own peace and that of others.

After praying the Angelus, the pope highlighted an upcoming international conference on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and he encouraged the international community "to act urgently, by all means, to come to the aid of the people of Gaza, exhausted by the war."

"Humanitarian aid must be able to reach those in need, and no one can prevent it," he said.

The pope also recalled the 10th anniversary of a meeting at the Vatican between the Israeli and Palestinian presidents in 2014, and he called for "ongoing negotiations between the parties, even though they are not easy."

"I hope that the proposals for peace, a cease-fire on all fronts and the freeing of hostages will be accepted immediately for the good of Palestinians and Israelis," he said.