God's initiative is gratuitous, salvation is gratuitous, the Lord "does not ask for anything in return": "Only love, fidelity, as He is love and He is faithful." "Salvation is not bought".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - God's initiative is gratuitous, salvation is gratuitous, thus we should not miss the opportunity to feel: you can regain the feeling of loving but if you lose the feeling of being loved, you lose everything said Pope Francis at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. He was commenting on the Gospel of Luke (14: 15-24) in which Jesus narrates a parable to advise those inviting guests to their homes to invite those who cannot repay them.
A man - the parable goes – was hosting a great dinner and invited many people. The first invited did not want to go because they did not care about the dinner, the people or the Lord's invitation: they were caught up in their own interests, which were greater than the invitation. Some had bought five pairs of oxen, others a field, others still had married. In essence, the Pope pointed out, they wondered what they could earn from the invitation. They were "busy" like the man who made stores to accumulate his belongings but died that night. They were attached to their own interests so much that this leads them to a "slavery of the Spirit", that is, to being "incapable of understanding the gratuity of the invitation."
"And if you do not understand the gratuity of God's invitation," warned Francis, "nothing is understood. God's initiative is gratuitous. But to go to this banquet what do you have to pay? But, the entry ticket is you have to be sick, to be poor, a sinner ... These (so) let you in, this is the entry ticket: to be needy both in body and soul. But, for the need for healing, care, love ... ".
There are, then, two attitudes: on the one hand God does not pay anything and then tells the servant to gather the poor, crippled, good and bad: this is a gratuitous "no limit," God "extends to everyone. " On the other hand, the attitude of the first guests who do not understand the gratuity. Like the older brother of the Prodigal Son, who does not want to go to the banquet arranged by his father for his brother who had left: he does not understand. "'But he has spent all the money, spent his inheritance, has vices, sins, you are celebrating him? And I am a Catholic, practical, I go to Mass every Sunday, do things, nothing for me? ' He does not understand the gratuity of salvation, he thinks salvation is the fruit of 'I pay and you save me'. Pay with this, with this, with this ... No, salvation is free!. " If you do not understand the dynamics of gratuity then you do not understand anything. Salvation is a gift of God to which one responds with another gift, the gift of one’s heart. "
Those who think about their own interests, the Pope said, when they hear about gifts, they know they have to do but immediately think of "exchange": "I will make this gift", and he then "on another occasion, will make me another ". The Lord, on the other hand, "does not ask for anything in return": "Only love, fidelity, as He is love and He is faithful." "Salvation is not bought, you simply enter the banquet". "Blessed are those who will take food in the Kingdom of God": this is salvation.
Those who, however, are not willing to enter the banquet, "feel safe", "save themselves from the banquet": "they have lost the sense of gratuity, the sense of love." "They lost a bigger and more beautiful thing still and this is very bad: they have lost the ability to feel loved."
"And when you lose - I do not say the ability to love, because that can be regained - the ability to feel loved there is no hope, you've lost everything. It makes us think of the writing in the door of Dante's Inferno: 'Abandon all Hope', you've lost everything. We must think of this in front of the Lord: 'Because I tell you, I want my house to be filled.' This great Lord, who is so loving, wants to fill His house free of charge. Let us ask the Lord to save us from losing the ability to feel loved."