The power of Jesus Christ is manifested in humble service and love, Pope Benedict XVI said in his Sunday Angelus address Jan. 29.
“For man, authority often means possession, power, control, success,” the Pope said to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“For God, however, authority means service, humility, love,” he continued. “It means entering into the logic of Jesus, who stoops to wash the disciples’ feet, who seeks the true good of man, who heals wounds, who is capable of a love so great as to give up his life, because he is Love.”
The Pope’s comments came in a reflection on the Gospel reading in which an unclean spirit identifies Jesus Christ as the “holy one of God” during his travels in Galilee. The Pope observed how Jesus heals both spiritually and physically through his teaching and miracles.
“In a short time, his fame spread throughout the region which he travels, announcing the Kingdom of God and healing the sick of all kinds: word and deed.”
He then quoted the fifth-century Church Father St. John Chrysostom, who noted that Jesus “alternates the speech for the benefit of those who listen, moving on from wonders to words and again passing from the teaching of his doctrine to miracles.”
The Pope suggested that Jesus’ use of words immediately opened up most of those listening to “the will of the Father and the truth about themselves.” However, not open to these words were the scribes, who “struggled to interpret the holy Scriptures with countless reflections.”
Therefore, Jesus also united his words to miraculous actions as “signs of deliverance from evil,” the Holy Father explained. He further recalled how St. Athanasius, the third-century Church Father, would say that the “commanding and driving out demons is not human but divine work” and demonstrates how Jesus “distanced men from all diseases and infirmities.”
“Divine authority is not a force of nature,” concluded the Pope. Instead, it is “the power of the love of God who created the universe and, in becoming incarnate in his only begotten Son, in coming down to our humanity, heals the world corrupted by sin.”
The Pope finished with a quotation from Romano Guardini, the 20th-century Italian-German philosopher and theologian, who wrote that “the whole life of Jesus is a translation of power in humility. ... Here is the sovereignty that lowers itself to the form of a servant.”