Pope: let the Spirit of the Lord grow in families, the spirit of love, respect, freedom

“May the Lord free us from any disturbance of those who put faith, the life of faith under casuistry prescriptions, prescriptions that make no sense. I refer to these prescriptions which make no sense, not to the Commandments. That free us from this spirit of rigidity that takes away your freedom."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Marking today's World Family Day, Pope Francis introduced the Mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta inviting people to pray for families, “so that the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of love and respect may grow in families, of freedom ".

In his homily, Pope Francis remarked that, in the first reading (Acts 15: 22-31), the early days of the Church when there were some where some who had received baptism, believed and were happy while there were others who felt that pagan converts first had to be initiated as Jews before becoming Christians, called judaizers. Pope Francis reflected on the rigid attitude of those early Christian preachers. “Rigidity is not from the Spirit of God, it puts into question the gratuitousness of redemption and the resurrection of Christ,” said the Pope.

Pope Francis noted that the judaizers were people who had theological, pastoral and moral arguments for their rigidity. They wanted a religion of prescriptions and took away the freedom of the Holy Spirit and the joy of the Gospel. Jesus, said the Pope, also had to confront the teachers of the law for their rigidity. The doctors of the law manipulated the consciences of the people making them rigid.

Pope Francis noted that rigidity stops us from enjoying the freedom that comes from justification. We can only enjoy the grace of freedom when we are not rigid. “Justification is gratuitous. The death of Jesus is gratuitous, you do not pay for it. It is free!” said the Pope.

Concluding his homily, the Pope prayed that the Lord might help us to discern the fruits of evangelical gratuitousness from the fruits of rigidity. “May the Lord free us from the spirit of rigidity that robs us of freedom.”