04/21/2020, 11.30
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Pope: May the silence of this time teach us to grow in listening skills

"The Holy Spirit is the master of harmony" and created harmony within the first Christian community. "Poverty is the mother of the community, poverty is the wall that protects the community". It is divided by money, vanity and chatter.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – May the silence that exists in this time teach us to grow in listening skills, prayed Pope Francis as he introduced mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta.

"In this time - he said - there is a lot of silence. You can even hear the silence. May this silence, which is a little new to us, teach us to listen, make us grow in listening skills. Let us pray for this."

In his homily, the Pope commented on today's passage from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 4, 32-37) which describes the life of the first Christian community who had one heart and one soul, focusing on the causes of division.

The Holy Spirit, he stressed, "is capable of working wonders, things that we cannot even think of. One example is the first Christian community, which is not a fantasy, what they tell us here: it is a model, that can be attained there where there is docility allowing the Holy Spirit to enter and transform us. A community that is – we could say - 'ideal'. It is true that problems will begin immediately after this, but the Lord shows us how much we can achieve when we are open to the Holy Spirit, if we are docile. In this community there is harmony. The Holy Spirit is the master of harmony, he is capable of creating it and he did so here. He must do it in our heart, he must change many things about us, but create harmony: because he himself is harmony. Even the harmony between the Father and the Son: it is the love of harmony, He. And He, with harmony, creates these things like this harmonious community. But then, history tells us - the same Book of Acts of the Apostles - of many problems within the community. This is a model: the Lord has allowed this model of an almost 'heavenly' community, to show us where we should go."

“But then the divisions began, in the community. The apostle James, in the second chapter of his Letter, says: 'May your faith be immune to personal favoritism': because there were! "Do not discriminate": the apostles must come out to admonish. And Paul, in the first Letter to the Corinthians, in chapter 11, complains: 'I have heard that there are divisions among you': the internal divisions in the communities begin. This 'ideal' is to be achieved, but it is not easy: there are many things that divide a community, be it a Christian parish or diocesan or presbyteral community or a community of religious men or women... many things enter to divide the community".

“Let us look at the things that divided the first Christian communities, I find three: first, money. When the apostle James says this, that he has no personal favoritism, he gives an example because 'if one with the golden ring enters your assembly, you immediately make room for him at the front and leave the poor behind’ . Money. Paul himself says the same: 'The rich bring food and eat, they do, and the poor, are left standing', we leave them there as if to say to them: "Cope for yourselves". '' Money divides, love of money divides the community, divides the Church. Often, in the history of the Church, where there have been doctrinal deviations - not always, however quite often - money is behind it: the money of power, both political power and cash, but it is money. Money divides the community. For this reason, poverty is the mother of the community, poverty is the wall that protects the community. Money, personal interest divides. Even in families: how many families ended up divided by an inheritance? How many families? And they never spoke to each other again ... How many families ... An inheritance ... It divides: money divides ".

"Another thing that divides a community is vanity, that desire to feel better than others. 'Thank you, Lord, because I am not like the others', the Pharisee's prayer. Vanity, feeling that ... And also vanity in showing off, vanity in habits, in dressing: how often - not always but how often - the celebration of a sacrament is an example of vanity: Those who attend in their best clothes, [to see] who does this, or that... Vanity ... the greatest celebration ... Vanity also enters there. And vanity divides. Because vanity leads you to becoming a peacock and where there is a peacock, there is division, always.”

“A third thing that divides a community is gossip:  it's not the first time I've said it, but it's a reality. It is the reality. That thing that the devil sows within us, like a need to talk about others. 'What a good person he  is ...' - 'Yes, yes, but nevertheless ...': immediately the 'but': that is a stone to disqualify the other and immediately something that I heard said and so the other is put down a little."

“But the Spirit always comes with his strength to save us from this worldliness of money, vanity and gossip, because the Spirit is not of the world: it is against the world. He is capable of creating these miracles, these great things.”

“Let us ask the Lord for this docility to the Spirit so that He transforms us and transforms our communities, our parochial, diocesan, religious communities: to transform them, to always go forward in the harmony that Jesus wants for the Christian community ".

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