Monday, November 25, 2013

Pope Francis: Trust in the Lord not because of fanatical force

In his homily today, Pope Francis, went back to a recurring theme of late: Living the Catholic faith is not about the extraordinary, but about the ordinary.  Trust in the Lord shouldn't be, "because of some fanatical force."

Pope Francis focused his homily on those characters from the daily readings who testify to the importance of trusting in God, even in extreme situations. In the Book of Daniel, the young Jewish men living as slaves of King Nebuchadnezzar remain faithful to the Lord, even at risk of their own lives. In the Gospel of Luke, the impoverished widow who puts two small coins into the offering box is praised by Jesus, who says: “Those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood”.  

The Lord, Pope Francis says, is everything, and they trusted in the Lord. They didn’t do so because of some fanatical force, but because they knew that the Lord is faithful. They trusted in that faith which is always there, the Pope said, because the Lord cannot be unfaithful, cannot deny Himself.

It strikes me every time he says something like this because we are in an age where there is so much focus on the extraordinary, like signs and wonders.  It's easy to live the faith if you have an extraordinary experience, or know others who have.  It's requires so much more trust and love for God to live out the faith in simple ways with no such thing in return from the Lord.  Are we like the horse who goes forth with just a word, or are we in need of a carrot dangled in front of us?

Pope Francis then went on to acknowledge the martyrs and people today suffer persecution, while still pointing back to how most of us will live out our faith in doing the little things.

Choosing to be faithful to the Lord, Pope Francis continued, is equally important in the little things and in the most difficult situations. He remembered the men, women, elderly and young people who every day choose to be faithful to the Lord, who live as martyrs, and as an example to us all. When we read in the newspapers about Christians who are persecuted in our own times, the Pope explained, we must take their lives as an encouragement to offer the Church everything we have, our whole livelihood.  

Let us think, Pope Francis said, about the brothers and sisters who have made courageous, definitive choices throughout history, and continue to do so today. But let us also think about the many mothers and fathers who make small but definitive choices of faith every day, with their families and with their children. Let us ask the Lord, Pope Francis concluded, for the grace of courage, the courage to go on with our Christian lives, in everyday life and in the most extreme situations. 

Picture, report and translation from Vatican Radio

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