03/27/2014, 00.00
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Pope at Mass with Italian MPs: Don’t be “whitewashed tombs” follow the path of salvation

"Let us pray that the Lord give us the grace to always choose the path of salvation, to open ourselves to the salvation that only comes from God, by faith, not from what these 'doctors of duty' proposed, those who had lost faith and led the people with this theology of pastoral duty".

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - Do not follow the "logic" of a "behavior" that is like "a whitewashed tomb" where there is no place for the Lord, but one that is open to God and the path of salvation. This was the principle that Pope Francis centered his homily on at Mass he celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Basilica with 493 Italian parliamentarians, slightly more than half of the members of both Houses.

At the time of Jesus, the Pope said, there was a ruling class that had moved away from the people, that had "abandoned" the people, incapable of doing anything else except follow their own ideology and slide towards corruption. The Pope observed how in the first reading from the Book of Jeremiah, the prophet gives voice to the "lament of God" for a generation that did not accept his messengers and instead justified its sins. "They have turned their backs to me" quoted Pope Francis. "This is the Lord's pain, the pain of God". This reality, he says, is also present in today's Gospel, that of a blindness towards God especially on the part of the leaders of the people.  "The heart of this people, this little group hardened over time, so much so that it was impossible to hear the voice of the Lord. As sinners, they slipped, they became corrupt. It is very difficult for the corrupt to turn back. The sinner, yes, because the Lord is merciful and awaits us all. But the corrupt is set in his ways, and these were corrupt. This is why they justified themselves, because Jesus, with his simplicity, but with the strength of God, annoyed them".

People, says Pope Francis, who "took the wrong road. They resisted the Lord's loving salvation, and so slipped from the faith, a theology of faith into a theology of duty". "They rejected the Lord's love and this rejection resulted in them taking a road that was not the road of dialectic of freedom offered by the Lord, but that of the logic of necessity, where there is no place for the Lord. The good Lord is in the dialectic of freedom, who loves us, loves us so much! Instead, there is no place for God in the logic of necessity: it must be done, must be done, it must be ... They have become behavioral. Men of good manners, but of bad habits. Jesus calls them, he says 'whitewashed tombs'".

Lent, Pope Francis concluded reminds us that "God loves us all" and that we must "make the effort to open up to him".  "On this Lenten journey we would do well, all of us, to think about this call of the Lord to love, this dialectic of freedom where there is love, and all of us ask ourselves: 'Am I on this road? Am I in danger of justifying myself and taking another road?'. It is a road that leads to nowhere, because it does not lead to any promise ... Let us pray that the Lord give us the grace to always choose the road of salvation, to open ourselves to the salvation that only comes from God, by faith, not by what these 'doctors of duty' proposed, those who had lost faith and led the people with this theology of pastoral duty".

 

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