Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Christian must "guard their heart" to welcome God’s "generous gift” free from the "mundane noise, pagan noise or noise of the devil" and avoid being a cause of “scandal”, claiming to be Christian, but living like a pagan.
This was Pope Francis’ reflection at Mass celebrated this morning in Casa Santa Marta, inspired by the readings of the liturgy, by St. Paul when he says "do not receive the grace of God in vain" and the Gospel where Jesus overturns the perspective of '' an eye for an eye "with “turning the other cheek”.
The Pope commented that there is a “auspicious” moment to welcome the free gift of God’s grace and that that time is “now”. This means that “The Lord gifts us grace in very moment of our lives”. We welcome it by never giving cause to scandal in our lives, as St Paul writes. The Pope exhorted the faithful presence to not give a reason for scandal to no one.” “It is the scandal of the Christian who says they are Christian, he even goes to Church, he goes on Sundays to Mass but doesn’t live like a Christian, he lives like a worldly person or like a pagan,” he said. “And when a person is like that, they scandalize. How many times we have heard in our neighbourhoods, in businesses: ‘Look at this one or that one, every Sunday at Mass and then does this, this, this, and this...;’ And the people are scandalized. This is what Paul says: ‘To no receive in vain. And how should we receive it? First of all, he says it is the ‘favorable moment. We should be attentive to understand the time of God, when God passes through our heart.”
The Pope said we must guard our hearts from “every noise that doesn’t come from the Lord.”, distancing all other noise that “take away our peace”. A heart is free from passions, is outlined in today’s Gospel when Jesus overturns the “eye for an eye” motive with “turning the other cheek”. “But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well,” Jesus says. “The heart is guarded by humility, by meekness, never from fighting, from wars. No!” the Pope exclaimed. “This is noise: worldly noise, pagan noise or noise from the devil. The heart in peace; ‘We give no reason of scandal to no one, in order that no fault may be found with our ministry’, Paul says but he speaks of the ministry and also the Christian witness, so that it may not be criticized.”
Concluding, Pope Francis Returning to the words of St Paul, the Pope stressed we must keep our hearts ready for God through all “endurance, afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts”. How can we possibly do this, he asked? As the Apostle Paul explains, through “purity, knowledge, patience, kindness”, and by maintaining a spirit of holiness. Humility, kindness and patience, the Pope concluded, are the marks of those who keep their eyes on God and have their hearts open as the Lord approaches.