MORNING CELEBRATION BROADCASTED LIVE
FROM THE CHAPEL OF CASA SANTA MARTA
FROM THE CHAPEL OF CASA SANTA MARTA
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
"To be Christian is to belong to the people of God"
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Yesterday I received a letter from a group of artists: they thanked them for the prayer we did for them. I would like to ask the Lord to bless them because artists make us understand what beauty is, and without beauty the Gospel cannot be understood. Let us pray again for the artists.
When Paul is invited to speak to the synagogue of Antioch [in Pisidia] to explain this new doctrine, that is, to explain Jesus, to proclaim Jesus, Paul begins by talking about the history of salvation (cf Acts 13 : 13-21). Paul stood up and began: "The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers and raised the people during his exile in the land of Egypt" (v. 17) ... and [told] all the salvation, the history of the salvation. Stephen did the same before the martyrdom (cf. Acts 7 : 1-54) and also Paul, another time. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews does the same, when he tells the story of Abraham and of "all our fathers" (cf. Eb11.1 to 39). We sang the same today, we: "I will sing the love of the Lord forever, I will make your faithfulness known with my mouth" ( Ps 88: 2). We sang the story of David: "I have found David, my servant" (v. 21). Matthew (cf Mt 1,1-14) and Luke (cf Lk 3,23-38) do the same: when they start talking about Jesus, they take the genealogy of Jesus.
What is behind Jesus? There is a story. A story of grace, a story of election, a story of promise. The Lord chose Abraham and went with his people. At the beginning of the Mass, in the opening song, we said: "When you advanced, Lord, before your people and you opened the way and walked beside your people, near your people". There is a story of God with his people. And for this reason, when Paul is asked to explain the reason for faith in Jesus Christ, it does not start from Jesus Christ: it begins from history. Christianity is a doctrine, yes, but not only. It's not just the things that we believe in, it's a story that brings this doctrine which is God's promise, God's covenant, to be elected by God.
Christianity is not just an ethics. Yes, it is true, it has moral principles, but one is not a Christian only with a vision of ethics. And more. Christianity is not an elite of people chosen for truth. This elitist sense that then goes on in the Church, doesn't it? For example, I am from that institution, I belong to this movement which is better than yours, to this, to that other ... It is an elitist sense. No, Christianity is not this: Christianity is belonging to a people, to a people chosen by God freely. If we do not have this consciousness of belonging to a people, we will be ideological Christians, with a small doctrine of affirmation of truth, with an ethics, with a morality - it is fine - or with an elite. We feel part of a group chosen by God - the Christians - and the others will go to hell or if they are saved it is for the mercy of God, but they are the discarded ... And so on. If we do not have an awareness of belonging to a people, we are not true Christians.
This is why Paul explains Jesus from the beginning, from belonging to a people. And many times, many times, we fall into these partialities, be they dogmatic, moral or elitist, don't we? The sense of the elite is what hurts us so much and we lose that sense of belonging to the holy faithful people of God, which God has chosen in Abraham and promised, the great promise, Jesus, and made him go with hope and he made alliance with him. People's conscience.
I am always struck by that passage from Deuteronomy, I think it is the 26th chapter, when it says: “Once a year when you go to present the offerings to the Lord, the firstfruits, and when your son will ask you: 'But dad why do you do this? ', you must not say to him:' Because God commanded him ', no:' We were a people, we were like this and the Lord freed us ... '"(cf Dt 26,1-11). Tell the story, as Paolo did here. Transmitting the history of our salvation. The Lord in Deuteronomy himself advises: "When you come to the land that you have not conquered, which I have conquered, and you will eat the fruits that you have not planted and you will inhabit the houses that you have not built, at the moment of giving the offer "(Cf. Dt26.1), says - the famous deuteronomic creed -: "My father was a wandering Aramaean, he went down to Egypt" ( Dt 26.5) ... "He stayed there for 400 years, then the Lord freed him, carried him forward ..." . Sing the story, the memory of the people , of being a people.
And in this history of the people of God, up to Jesus Christ, there were saints, sinners and many ordinary people, good, with virtues and sins, but all of them. The famous "crowd" that followed Jesus, who had the sense of belonging to a people. A self-styled Christian who does not have this flair is not a true Christian; it is a bit particular and a little feels justified without the people. Belonging to a people, to remember the people of God. And this is taught by Paul, Stephen, another time Paul, the apostles ... And the advice of the author of the Letter to the Hebrews: "Remember your ancestors" (cf. Heb 11 , 2), that is, those who preceded us on this path of salvation.
If someone asked me: “What is the deviation of Christians for you today and always? What would be the most dangerous deviation of Christians for you? ”, I would say without doubting: the lack of memory of belonging to a people. When this is lacking, dogmatisms, moralisms, ethics, elitist movements come. The people are missing. A sinful people, always, we all are, but who do not make mistakes in general, who have the sense of being an elected people, who walk behind a promise and who made an alliance that he perhaps does not make, but knows.
Ask the Lord for this conscience of the people, which Our Lady beautifully sang in her Magnificat (cf. Lk 1,46-56), that Zacharias sang so beautifully in her Benedictus (cf. Lk 1,67-79), songs that we all pray during day, in the morning and in the evening. People's conscience: we are the holy faithful people of God who, as Vatican Council I , then II , says , in its totality has the flair for faith and is infallible in this way of believing.
Prayer for spiritual communion
At your feet, O my Jesus, I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart that abysses itself in its nothingness and in your holy presence. I adore you in the sacrament of your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor abode that my heart offers you; waiting for the happiness of sacramental communion I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I come to you. May your love inflame my whole being for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - Translation from Italian