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Following Jesus requires more than just intellectual assent, Pope preaches

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In his homily for daily Mass this morning at the chapel of the St. Martha Residence in the Vatican, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of Christian discipleship, saying that those who profess to follow Christ need to do so with their whole lives and persons, and not merely give intellectual assent to Christianity. “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,” the Pope said to those present, reflecting on Jesus' question to the apostles "who do you say that I am," and the response of St. Peter (Matthew 16:13-20).

“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,” the Pope recalled. "Through these experiences, Peter learned wisdom - that of weeping, that of tears.” Francis said that a Christian should learn, as Peter did, “to follow Jesus in our virtue, and even in our sin, but to always follow Jesus.”

It is important for believers to study our faith and to be knowledgeable about it, but the Holy Father said that the intellectual understanding alone would not do, but “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,’” the Pontiff said, and the journey of life cannot be made on our own. “To know Jesus is a gift of the Father, and he makes us know Jesus. It is a work of the Holy Spirit,” the Pontiff preached.

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