MORNING CELEBRATION BROADCASTED LIVE
FROM THE SANTA MARTA CHAPEL
FROM THE SANTA MARTA CHAPEL
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
"The relationship with God is free, it is a relationship of friendship"
Friday, May 15, 2020
Today is World Family Day. Let us pray for families, so that the Spirit of the Lord may grow in families, the spirit of love, respect, freedom.
In the Book of Acts of the Apostles we see that in the Church, at the beginning, there were times of peace, he says it many times: the Church grew, in peace, and the Spirit of the Lord spread (cf. Acts 9:31); times of peace. There were also times of persecution, starting with the persecution of Stephen (cf. chap. 6-7), then persecutor Paul, converted, then also persecuted ... Times of peace, times of persecutions, and there were also times of disturbance . And this is the topic of today's first reading: a time of disturbance (cf Acts 15,22-31). "We have known that some of us - the apostles write to the Christians who came from paganism - we knew that some of us, to whom we had not given any assignment, came to upset you - toto upset you - with speeches that have upset your minds "(v. 24).
What had happened? These Christians who came from the pagans had believed in Jesus Christ and received baptism, and were happy: they had received the Holy Spirit. From paganism to Christianity, without any intermediate stage. Instead, these who call themselves "the Judaizers" argued that this could not be done. If one was a pagan, first he had to become a Jew, a good Jew, and then to become a Christian, to be in the line of the election of the people of God. And these Christians did not understand this: “But how, we are second-class Christians? Can't we go from paganism directly to Christianity? Is it not that the resurrection of Christ dissolved the ancient law and brought it to an even greater fullness? ". They were troubled and there were many discussions between them. And those who wanted this were people who with pastoral arguments, theological arguments, even some morals, argued that no, that we should take the step like this! And this questioned the freedom of the Holy Spirit, also the gratuitousness of Christ's resurrection and grace. They were methodical. And also rigid.
Of these, of their teachers, of the doctors of the Law, Jesus had said: “Woe to you who travel the sky and the sea to make a proselyte and when you have found it you do it worse than before. You make him son of Gehenna. " More or less this is what Jesus says in the 23rd chapter of Matthew (cf. v. 15). These people, who were "ideological" rather than "dogmatic", "ideological", had reduced the Law, the dogma to an ideology: "this must be done, and this, and this ...". A religion of prescriptions, and with this they took away the freedom of the Spirit. And the people who followed them were rigid people, people who did not feel comfortable, did not know the joy of the Gospel. The perfection of the way to follow Jesus was rigidity: "You have to do this, this, this, this ...". These people, these doctors "manipulated" the consciences of the faithful and either made them rigid or went away.
For this reason, I repeat myself many times and I say that rigidity is not of the good Spirit, because it questions the gratuitousness of redemption, the gratuitousness of Christ's resurrection. And this is an old thing: during the history of the Church, this has been repeated. Think of the Pelagians, these ... these rigid, famous. And even in our times we have seen some apostolic organizations that seemed really well organized, that worked well ..., but all rigid, all equal to one another, and then we learned about the corruption that was inside, even in the founders.
Where there is rigidity there is no Spirit of God, because the Spirit of God is freedom . And these people wanted to take steps by removing the freedom of the Spirit of God and the gratuitousness of redemption: "To be justified, you must do this, this, this, this ...". The justification is free. The death and resurrection of Christ is free. You don't pay, you don't buy: it's a gift! And these didn't want to do this.
The road [the way to proceed] is beautiful: the apostles gather in this council and at the end write a letter that says: "It seemed good, in fact, to the Holy Spirit and to us, not to impose another obligation on you ..." ( Ac 15.28), and they put these more moral, common sense obligations: not to confuse Christianity with paganism, with refraining from the flesh offered to idols, etc. And in the end, these troubled Christians gathered in the assembly received the letter and, "when they read it, they rejoiced at the encouragement it instilled" (v. 31). From disturbance to joy. The spirit of rigidity always brings you upset: “But did I do this well? Did I not do it well? ". The scruple. The spirit of evangelical freedom leads you to joy, because this is exactly what Jesus did with his resurrection: he brought joy! The relationship with God, the relationship with Jesus is not such a relationship, of "doing things": "I do this and you give me this". Such a relationship, I say - forgive me the Lord - commercial , no! It is free, just as Jesus' relationship with the disciples is free. "You are my friends" ( Jn 15:14). "I do not call you servants, I call you friends" (cf. v. 15). "You did not choose me, but I chose you" (v. 16). This is gratuity.
We ask the Lord to help us discern the fruits of gospel gratuitousness from the fruits of non-evangelical rigidity , and to free us from any disturbance of those who put faith, the life of faith under case prescriptions, prescriptions that make no sense . I refer to these prescriptions which make no sense, not to the Commandments. That free us from this spirit of rigidity that takes away your freedom.
Prayer to make spiritual communion
People who do not communicate now make spiritual communion:
At your feet, O my Jesus, I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which 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. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, 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. So be it.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - a Translation from Italian