Pope Francis says "Conversion is a grace that we must always ask for: “Lord, give me the grace to improve." FULL TEXT
St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 27 September 2020
Sunday, 27 September 2020
Dear brothers and sisters ,
in my land they say: “In bad weather, good face”. With this "good face" I say to you: good morning!
With his preaching on the Kingdom of God, Jesus opposes a religiosity that does not involve human life, that does not challenge the conscience and its responsibility in the face of good and evil. He also demonstrates this with the parable of the two sons, which is proposed in the Gospel of Matthew (cf. 21: 28-32). At the father's invitation to go to work in the vineyard, the first son impulsively replies “no, I'm not going”, but then he repents and goes there; instead the second son, who immediately replies "yes, yes dad", in reality does not, does not go. Obedience does not consist in saying "yes" or "no", but always in acting, in cultivating the vine, in realizing the Kingdom of God, in doing good. With this simple example, Jesus wants to overcome a religion understood only as an external and habitual practice, which does not affect people's lives and attitudes,
The exponents of this "facade" religiosity, which Jesus disapproves, were at that time "the chief priests and the elders of the people" ( Mt21:23) who, according to the Lord's admonition, in the Kingdom of God will be overtaken by tax collectors and prostitutes (cf. v. 31). Jesus tells them: "It will be the tax collectors, that is, sinners, and prostitutes to precede you into the Kingdom of heaven". This affirmation should not lead us to think that those who do not follow God's commandments, those who do not follow morality, and say: "Anyway, those who go to Church are worse than us!" No, this is not the teaching of Jesus. Jesus does not point to tax collectors and prostitutes as models of life, but as "privileged of Grace". And I would like to emphasize this word "grace", grace, because conversion is always a grace. A grace that God offers to anyone who opens up and converts to Him. In fact, these people, listening to his preaching, repented and changed their lives.
In today's Gospel, the one who makes the best impression is the first brother, not because he said "no" to his father, but because after the "no" he converted to "yes", he repented. God is patient with each one of us: he does not get tired, he does not give up after our "no"; it also leaves us free to turn away from him and make mistakes. Thinking about God's patience is wonderful! As the Lord always awaits us; always beside us to help us; but respect our freedom. And he eagerly awaits our "yes", to welcome us again into his paternal arms and fill us with his limitless mercy. Faith in God asks us to renew every day the choice of good over evil, the choice of truth over lies, the choice of love of neighbor over selfishness. Whoever converts to this choice, after having experienced sin,Lk 15.7).
But conversion, to change the heart, is a process, a process that purifies us from moral encrustations. And sometimes it is a painful process, because there is no path to holiness without some renunciation and without spiritual combat. To fight for the good, to fight not to fall into temptation, to do what we can on our part, to come to live in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes. Today's Gospel calls into question the way of living the Christian life, which is not made up of dreams and beautiful aspirations, but of concrete commitments, in order to always open ourselves to the will of God and to love for our brothers. But this, even the smallest concrete commitment, cannot be done without grace. Conversion is a grace that we must always ask for: “Lord, give me the grace to improve. Give me the grace to be a good Christian ”.
Mary Most Holy help us to be docile to the action of the Holy Spirit. He is the One who melts the hardness of hearts and disposes them to repentance, to obtain the life and salvation promised by Jesus.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters!
There have been worrying reports of clashes in the Caucasus area. I pray for peace in the Caucasus and I ask the parties to the conflict to make concrete gestures of goodwill and brotherhood, which can lead to solving problems not with the use of force and weapons, but through dialogue and negotiation. Let us pray together, in silence, for peace in the Caucasus.
Yesterday, in Naples, Maria Luigia of the Blessed Sacrament was proclaimed, born Maria Velotti, founder of the Congregation of the Franciscan Adorers of the Holy Cross. We thank God for this new Blessed, an example of contemplation of the mystery of Calvary and tireless in the exercise of charity.
Today the Church celebrates World Day of Migrants and Refugees . I greet the refugees and migrants present in the square around the monument entitled “Angels without knowing it” (cf. Heb 13 : 2), which I blessed a year ago. This year I wanted to dedicate my message to the internally displaced people, who are forced to flee, as happened to Jesus and his family. "Like Jesus forced to flee," so do the displaced, the migrants. Our remembrance and our prayers go to them, in a particular way, and to those who assist them.
Today is also World Tourism Day. The pandemic has hit this sector hard, which is so important to so many countries. I address my encouragement to all those who work in tourism, especially small family businesses and young people. I hope that everyone will soon be able to recover from the current difficulties.
And now I greet you, dear Roman faithful and pilgrims from various parts of Italy and the world. There are so many different flags! A special thought for women and all people involved in the fight against breast cancer. May the Lord support your commitment! And I greet the pilgrims from Siena who have come on foot to Rome.
And to all of you I wish you a happy Sunday, a Sunday in peace. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye.