Vatican City (AsiaNews) - If we want to be saved, we must choose "the path of humility" of "self-marginalization" because God "cannot find us at the center of our securities, no, no. The Lord does not go there. He will find us on the margins, in our sins, our mistakes, our need to be spiritually healed, to be saved, there the Lord finds us". This is the "message" of the third week of Lent, according to Pope Francis. He was commenting on the Gospel passage where Jesus says: "No prophet is accepted in his own native place".
Vatican Radio's Italian section reports that the Pope's homily begins with Jesus' words addressed to his countrymen, the people of Nazareth, among whom he could not work miracles because "they did not have faith". Jesus recalls two biblical events: the miracle of healing from leprosy of Naaman the Syrian, in the time of Elisha the prophet, and the prophet Elijah's meeting with the widow in Zarephath, Sidon, who was saved from famine. "The lepers and widows - says Pope Francis - were marginalized at that time". Yet, these two outcasts, in accepting the prophets were saved. Instead, the Nazarenes do not accept Jesus, because "they were so confident in their faith, so secure in their observance of the commandments, that they did not need another salvation".
"This is the drama of a blind observance of the commandments, without faith: 'I save myself from, because I go to the synagogue every Saturday, I try to obey the commandments, but this person here cannot come and tell me that a leper and the widow are better than me'. Those were marginalized! And Jesus says to us: 'Look, if you do not marginalize yourself, if you do not feel what it is like on the margins, you will not have salvation'. This is the humility, the path of humility: to feel so marginalized that we need the salvation of the Lord. He alone saves, not our observance of precepts. They didn't like this, it made them angry and they wanted to kill him".
The same anger - said the Pope - initially affects even Naaman, because he considers Elisha's call for him to bathe seven times in the River Jordan to be healed of leprosy ridiculous and humiliating. "The Lord asks us for a gesture of humility, childlike obedience, to be willing to do the ridiculous". He leaves angry, but then, convinced by his servants, returns and does what the prophet said. That act of humility heals him . "This is the message of today, in this third week of Lent - the Pope said - if we want to be saved, we must choose the path of humility".
"Mary in her canticle does not say that she is happy because God he looked at her virginity, her goodness and sweetness, she had many virtues, no: But because the Lord looked upon the humility of His handmaid, her littleness, and humility. That 's what the Lord looks at. And we have to learn this wisdom of self-marginalization, so that the Lord may find us. He cannot find us at the center of our securities, no, no. The Lord does not go there. He will find us on the margins, in our sins, our mistakes, our need to be spiritually healed, to be saved, there the Lord finds us".
"And this - reaffirmed the Pope - is the path of humility". "Christian humility is not the virtue of saying, 'I do not serve for nothing' and hide our pride there, no, no! Christian humility is telling the truth: 'I am a sinner, I am a sinner'. Telling the truth: this is our truth. But, there is another: God saves us. He saves us there when we are marginalized; He does not save us in our security. Let us ask for the grace to have this wisdom of self-marginalization, the grace of humility to receive the salvation of the Lord".