Complaining frequently can become an obsession that obscures the presence of Jesus in difficult situations, Pope Francis has said.
Celebrating morning Mass earlier this week with staff members from the Domus Romana Sacerdotalis, a nearby residence and guesthouse for clergy, Pope Francis preached about the Gospel story from St Luke about the two disappointed disciples on the road to Emmaus after the death of Jesus.
“They were afraid. All of the disciples were afraid,” he said. As they walked toward Emmaus and discussed everything that had happened, they were sad and complaining. “And the more they complained, the more they were closed in on themselves: They did not have a horizon before them, only a wall,” the Pope explained, according to Vatican Radio.
The disciples had had such high hopes that Jesus would be the one who would redeem Israel, but they thought their hopes were destroyed, he said on Wednesday.
“And they stewed, so to speak, their lives in the juice of their complaints and kept going on and on and on with the complaining,” the Pope said. “I think that many times when difficult things happen, including when we are visited by the cross, we run the risk of closing ourselves off in complaints.”
When all people can think of is how wrong things are going, Pope Francis said, the Lord is close, “but we don’t recognise him. He walks with us, but we don’t recognise him.”
Like the disciples joined by the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus, people can hear beautiful things, but deep down, they continue to be afraid, the Pope told the congregation.
“Complaining seems safer. It’s something certain. This is my truth: failure,” he said before adding that the Gospel story shows how very patient Jesus is with the disciples, first listening to them and then explaining things step by step, until they see him.
Complaining and griping, about others and about things in one’s own life, is harmful “because it dashes hope. Don’t get into this game of a life of complaints.”