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    » 05/26/2015, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: Christianity is a radical choice: you cannot have "heaven and earth"



    "It's sad to see a Christian, whether it’s a lay person, consecrated, priest, or bishop - it’s sad when you see he wants two things: to follow Jesus and worldly things, to follow Jesus and worldliness." Jesus does not promise riches to his apostles, but the legacy of the Kingdom of heaven "but with persecution, with the cross."

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Christianity is a radical choice: you cannot have "heaven and earth" and "it is sad to see a Christian" who wants to "follow Jesus and worldly things." This is why riches, vanity and pride are so dangerous,  the "three steps" that turn us away from Jesus. This was Pope Francis’ reflection during mass celebrated this morning in Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the Gospel episode in which Peter asks Jesus what he and the disciples get in return for following Him, after the Lord had said to the rich young man to sell all his possessions and follow him.

    The Pope noted that Jesus responds in an unexpected way:  He does not speak of riches to his disciples,  but promises instead the Kingdom of Heaven "but with persecution, with the cross:" "So when a Christian is attached to [worldly] things, he gives the bad impression of a Christian who wants to have two things: [both] heaven and earth. And the touchstone of comparison precisely, is what Jesus says: the cross, the persecutions. This is to deny oneself, to suffer the cross every day... The disciples had this temptation, to follow Jesus but then:  how will this bargain end up?”  

    The Pope then referred to the reading from Mathew where James and John’s mother asks Jesus to secure a place at His side for her children: “’Ah, make this one prime minister for me - this one, the minister of the economy ...', and she took the worldly interest in following Jesus," the Pope said with irony.

    But , Francis noted, "the heart of these disciples was cleansed," through to Pentecost, when "they understood everything." "The gratuitousness  of following Jesus,” the Pope says, is the answer to the gratuitousness of love and salvation that Jesus gives us." And when "one wants to go and be with both Jesus and with the world, with both poverty and with riches,” he warns, “this is half-way Christianity that desires material gain. It is the spirit of worldliness."

    Echoing the words of the prophet Elijah, Pope Francis alluded to this kind of Christian as one "limping on two legs" because he "does not know what he wants." So, the Pope affirmed, in order to understand this,  we must remember that Jesus says "the first shall be last and the last shall be first," meaning "the one who believes or who is the greatest" must be "the servant, the smallest one": "Following Jesus from the human point of view is not a good deal: it’s serving. He did so, and if the Lord gives you the opportunity to be the first, you have to act like the last one, that is, in service. And if the Lord gives you the ability to have possessions, you have to act in service, that is, to others. There are three things, three steps that take us away from Jesus: wealth, vanity and pride. This is why they are so dangerous, the riches, because they immediately make you vain and you think you are important. And when you think you are important, you lose your head and you lose yourself."

    What the Lord wants from us is to "strip" ourselves of worldly things the Pope stressed.  And it took Jesus a long time to get this message across to His disciples “because they did not understand well."   We too must ask Him to teach us “this science of service” the Pope said, “this science of humility, this science of being the last to serve our brothers and sisters in the Church."

    "It's sad to see a Christian, whether it’s a lay person, consecrated priest, bishop -  it’s sad when you see he wants two things: to follow Jesus and worldly things, to follow Jesus and worldliness. And this is a counter-witness and furthers people from Jesus. We continue now the celebration of the Eucharist, thinking of Peter's question. 'We left everything: what will you give us in return?' And thinking about Jesus’ response.  The recompense that He will give us is resemblance to Him. This will be our 'recompense'. Big 'recompense', to be like Jesus!”

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    See also

    17/01/2014 VATICAN
    Pope: Christians and the temptation to "sell ourselves" to be "normal" and "like everyone else"
    In the homily at Mass in Santa Marta, Pope Francis warns Christians against the "worldly normality", which forgets the election we have received and induces us to live with an "inferiority complex" not being "normal people " . In order not to fall into this trap, it is important to open our hearts to the Word of God, to walk the "true" path.

    15/03/2016 12:00:00 VATICAN
    Pope: Salvation comes from Christ’s' suffering, which defeated "the ancient serpent" forever

    To know how much God loves us, we only have to contemplate the Crucifix: a tortured man, a God," emptied of divinity"," dirtied" by sin. But a God whose self-abasement forever destroys the real name of evil, that which Revelation calls "the ancient serpent".

     



    29/02/2016 14:30:00 VATICAN
    Pope: Salvation doesn’t come from clerical or political power, but from "small things"

    "It would do us good to make a bit 'of time - today, tomorrow – and read the Beatitudes, read Matthew 25, and be careful about what happens in our heart: if there is something of disdain and ask the Lord for the grace to understand that the only way of salvation is the 'folly of the Cross', that is, the annihilation of the Son of God”.



    25/02/2016 13:36:00 VATICAN
    Pope: true faith is seeing Jesus in the poor person who knocks at our door

    Commenting on the parable of the rich man, Francis notes that the Gospel he does not mention his name. "This wealth, this is power, this can accomplish anything, this is a priest with a career, a bishop with a career ... How often do we too do this... label people with adjectives, not names, because they have no substance."

     



    23/02/2016 14:17:00 VATICAN
    Pope: Christianity is "concrete", it is not a religion "of mere talk" but "of action"

    God says: "relieve the oppressed, do right by the orphan, plead for the widow." "This is the Christian life. Instead, mere talk leads to vanity, to that empty pretense of being Christian – but no, that way one is not a Christian at all".





    Editor's choices

    CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Ma Daqin, the Vatican and the Patriotic Association’s “crooked logic”

    Gu Feng

    A priest in central China looks at the bishop of Shanghai’s volte-face, comparing him to John the Baptist who was jailed after he accused Herod. Because of their crooked logic, the Patriotic Association and the government seek to eliminate religion from the country. The Vatican is in danger of contradicting itself if it makes compromises with the Patriotic Association. Pope Benedict XVI described the latter as “incompatible” with Catholic doctrine in his Letter to Chinese Catholics, which Pope Francis has never disclaimed, but has instead reiterated.


    CHINA - VATICAN
    Mgr Ma Daqin’s volte-face, a cross to bear for the sake of Shanghai

    p. Pietro dalla Cina

    The auxiliary bishop of Shanghai holds dear the welfare of his diocese and intends to carry alone the burden of his statements of four years ago. Fr Lombardi’s clarification on the role of the Holy See dispels any doubt: the Letter of Benedict XVI to the Chinese Church is still valid; thus the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association's position is not accepted by the Vatican. A Chinese priest comments. Translation by AsiaNews.


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