Pope Francis: free our hearts to welcome the Lord
(Vatican Radio) Christians must learn to free themselves from ‘worldly noise and passions’ so that they can receive the grace of God in their hearts. That was the focus of Pope Francis’ words during his homily at morning Mass on Monday in the Casa Santa Marta, as Philippa Hitchen reports…
Reflecting on today’s reading from St Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, Pope Francis noted that the Lord freely gives us his grace and that we must be ready, right now, to receive that gift. We need to prepare our hearts, he said, so that we do not “receive the grace of God in vain”. We must be attentive to God so that we can welcome his Word, rather than causing scandal by our un-Christian behaviour.
How often, the Pope said, do we hear people speak of Christians who go to Mass on Sundays but then behave like pagans, causing scandal to others. But how should we welcome God into our hearts, he asked? By freeing ourselves from all noise and passion that does not come from God and by removing all those things that disturb our peace of mind. In the reading from St Matthew’s Gospel, the Pope said, Jesus explains how we must overturn our “eye for an eye” mentality and offer the other cheek to those who do us wrong.
To be free of worldly passion, Pope Francis said, we must have a humble heart which rejects all conflicts and battles. This is the noise of the pagan world and the noise of the devil, he said, but our hearts must be at peace if we want to bear witness to our faith without scandal or criticism. 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 to the Lord ..