01/31/2018, 14.18
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Pope: the Word of God must be listened to, must touch hearts and pass to hands

Francis dedicates the general audience to the liturgy of the Word. One listens to what God has done and still intends to do for us. "We need to listen to it! It is indeed a matter of life ". It demands our attention, no to chatter and no to "subjective choices", no to substituting the Word with irreverent texts.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The word of God that is pronounced during the Mass cannot be replaced by "other things", it must be listened to carefully, in silence, without chatter and must not "stay in the ears; it must go to the heart, and from the heart it passes to the hands, to good works.". The liturgy of the Word was the theme of Pope Francis’ continuing the cycle of catechesis dedicated to Mass at today’s general audience.

In his address to the 10 thousand people present in St Peter's Square, Francis stressed in particular that in the liturgy of the Word it is "God who speaks, here and now". ". It demands our attention, no to chatter - no to '"have you seen that lady’s hat? - and no to "subjective choices", to the substitution of the Word with irreverent texts. And readers must be "carefully selected", "must be prepared, by doing the tests".

One listens to what God has done and still intends to do for us. "We need to listen to Him! It is, in fact, a question of life, as the incisive expression well reminds that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4) — the life that the Word of God gives us. In this connection, we speak of the Liturgy of the Word as the “table” that the Lord prepares to feed our spiritual life".

The Responsorial Psalm, continued Francis, has the function of encouraging the meditation of what is heard in the reading that precedes it. For this reason "it is good that the Psalm be enhanced with song, at least f the refrain". The liturgical proclamation of the same readings, he added, expresses and fosters ecclesial communion, accompanying the journey of each and every one of us. "One understands, therefore, why subjective choices, such as the omission of Readings or their substitution with non-biblical texts, are prohibited. I’ve heard that some, if there is news, read the newspaper, because it’s the news of the day. No! The Word of God is the Word of God! We can read the newspaper later, but there, the Word of God is read. It’s the Lord who speaks to us. "Replacing that Word with other things, impoverishes and compromises the dialogue between God and His people in prayer".

"We know - he said - that the word of the Lord is an indispensable help not to lose ourselves". " How can we face our earthly pilgrimage, with its toils and trials, without being regularly fed and illumined by the Word of God that resounds in the Liturgy? It’s certainly not enough to listen with the ears, without receiving in the heart the seed of the divine Word, enabling it to bear fruit. Let us remember the parable of the sower and the different results according to the different types of soil. The action of the Spirit, which renders the response effective, is in need of hearts that allow themselves to be worked and cultivated, so that what is heard at Mass passes in daily life, in keeping with the Apostle James’ admonition: “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”.  The Word of God makes a path within us. We hear it with the ears and it passes to the heart. It doesn’t stay in the ears; it must go to the heart, and from the heart it passes to the hands, to good works. This is the course that the Word of God follows: from the ears to the heart to the hands. Let us learn these things."

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