CZESTOCHOWA, Poland — Those who embrace their own littleness become the “spokespersons” of God, Pope Francis said during Mass at the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, celebrating the 1050th anniversary of Poland becoming a Christian nation. It was the first major event of the Pope’s trip to the country for the 31st World Youth Day (WYD).
“To be attracted by power, by grandeur, by appearances, is tragically human,” the Pope said in his homily. “But to give oneself to others, eliminating distances, dwelling in littleness and living the reality of one’s everyday life: this is exquisitely divine.”
“The little ones speak [God’s] own language, that of the humble love that brings freedom,” he said. “So he calls the simple and receptive to be his spokespersons; he entrusts to them the revelation of his name and the secrets of his heart.”
According to official estimates, nearly half a million people attended the July 28 Mass with Pope Francis outside the Jasna Góra monastery, where the famous image of Our Lady of Czestochowa is housed.
The event at Poland’s leading Marian shrine marked the first public Mass during Pope’s July 27-31 trip to the nation for WYD, which is taking place in Krakow.
The Mass was a celebration of the “baptism” of Poland, which became a Christian nation in 966 upon the baptism of its first historic ruler, Mieszko I.
Francis centered his homily for the Mass on the readings, starting with Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
This reading speaks of Jesus coming at the “fullness of time” which, the Pope said, was “a gift of grace: God filled our time out of the abundance of his mercy. Out of sheer love he inaugurated the fullness of time.”
The Pope noted the particular significance of God entering into history by being “born of a woman.”
“There was no triumphal entrance or striking epiphany of the Almighty. He did not reveal himself as a brilliantly rising sun, but entered the world in the simplest of ways, as a child from his mother,” he said.
Citing Saint Luke’s Gospel, the Pope said: “Thus, contrary to our expectations and perhaps even our desires, the kingdom of God, now as then, ‘does not come in a way that attracts attention,’ but rather in littleness, in humility.”
Pope Francis turned his reflection to the day’s Gospel which recounts Jesus’ first miracle — turning water into wine, at the request of his mother, during the wedding feast at Cana.
“Today’s Gospel takes up this divine thread delicately passing through history,” he said. “Time shortens, God always shows himself in littleness.”
This miracle was not an an “amazing deed done before the crowd” or a response to a “political question,” the Pope observed. Rather, it was a “simple miracle” in a small village, one which “brings joy to the wedding of a young and completely anonymous family.”
Despite its “littleness,” the miracle is nonetheless “a great sign, for it reveals to us the spousal face of God, a God who sits at table with us, who dreams and holds communion with us,” the Pope said.
“It tells us that the Lord does not keep his distance, but is near and real. He is in our midst and he takes care of us, without making decisions in our place and without troubling himself with issues of power.”
The desire for power is a human temptation, the Pope said. Unlike us, Jesus “prefers to let himself be contained in little things.”
“To be attracted by power, by grandeur, by appearances, is tragically human,” he said. “But to give oneself to others, eliminating distances, dwelling in littleness and living the reality of one’s everyday life: this is exquisitely divine.”