This article is about three things: (1) Pope Francis, (2) Twitter, and (3) Jesus Christ. Let’s define our terms.
Pope Francis is the 266th Pope — the current pope — and one who is followed on Twitter alone by seven million people. Pope Francis is now an icon of unification in the Catholic Church, returning members to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as depicted in the New Testament, the overall message of which is that Jesus was as humble as his humblest fellow person; therefore, Jesus would wash the feet of a prostitute. This is the love engendered by New Testament Christianity — or following the principles of Jesus Christ — as opposed to Old Testament Christianity, which emphasizes the smiting of non-believers, i.e. apostates, and evil-doers, i.e. unrepentant sinners.
Twitter is a platform that allows micro blogs, and Pope Francis is the first to use this social media platform to communicate directly to his flock. Lately, posts have been referencing virtues of Jesus Christ, particularly in the message of looking after the poor and being humble.
Jesus Christ is the most important prophet for Christians who believe that he died on the cross for the sins of humanity so that all may be forgiven and go unto God after death of the flesh. Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead three days later to spend the next 40 days appearing to people before being sat at the right hand of God. Jesus is part of the Holy Trinity, i.e. the Holy Spirit, Christ, and God in Heaven.
Here are five recent Papal tweets about JC and how these messages reflect the lens of Catholicism on politics and current events.
War is the mother of all poverty, a vast predator of lives and souls.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) September 4, 2015
The world is currently at war, particularly in the Holy Lands of the Middle East, i.e. Israel/Palestine and Iraq and Syria/ISIS. Not fighting a war, not participating, is pacifism. And the interpretation of how far pacifism can take a people — e.g. Jews and Nazi Germany — is a capricious one. However, Jesus taught “turn the other cheek.” Matthew 5:39 explicitly states this.
“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
A Christian who is too attached to riches has lost his way. — Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 25, 2015
Matthew 6:24 says that the love of God and money are not possible. The environmental fact is that if the Earth were shared out equally and sustainably without a monetary hierarchy, then the love of God — at least according to Christians who believe in Jesus’ and the Pope’s words — is possible.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
“Mary’s life shows that God accomplishes great deeds through those who are the most humble.”
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 15, 2015
Mary, Mother of God, is a symbol of humbleness, and was chosen by God for this reason. There are several references to humility in the bible, but the best is at the Last Supper. John 8:14 takes place during the Last Supper when Jesus washes all the feet of his disciples. The scene is Jesus’ message that all followers should humble themselves in front of the poor and the weak.
“If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another s feet.”
The one who helps the sick and needy touches the flesh of Christ, alive and present in our midst.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) July 23, 2015
Matthew 8:1-3 deals with the episode in which God heals a leper, that is, a man suffering from the worst disease possible during his times. The phrase being treated “like a leper” being held at arm’s length by everyone including society at large. There are many groups that are persecuted, like refugees and migrants. These groups are treated as lepers as they are vilified in the media. The Pope would say that it is Jesus’ way to help if possible. The Syrian Refugee crises is a perfect example of a test for Christians to see if they will help in any way they can. How do Christians in America feel about the Refugee Crises?
A great challenge: stop ruining the garden which God has entrusted to us so that all may enjoy it.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) July 2, 2015
This is where politicians and The Pope part ways because Pope Francis is an environmentalist and believes the Earth should be respected and protected. It turns out there are as many as 40 Holy Bible references to Christianity and custodial obligations to the environment. Jeremiah 12:4 is a great modern refutation to the idea that animals, because they have no human soul, are not entitled to be sustained.
Jeremiah 12:4 ” How long will the land mourn and the grass of every field wither? Because of the evil of i…” http://t.co/NhjXOvPE52
— despond (@despond) July 8, 2015
The above are five examples of how Pope Francis has referred to Jesus Christ in his Twitter posts. The popularity of Pope Francis can be explained by his emphasis on living the life of Jesus as a Christian and that means, in sum, loving God, not money, taking care of the poor and the sick, and being humble, a lesson not only for Christians, but for all creeds and religious denominations.
[Photo by William Thomas Caine /Getty Iamges]