Pope: Gospel testimony, a "beneficial fire"
At the Angelus, Pope Francis explains that "the fire" that Jesus came to ignite, pushes disciples "to abandon every attitude of laziness, apathy, indifference". Christianity has spread "overcoming every division between individuals, social categories, peoples and nations". It is urgent to live in "adoration of God" and in the "willingness to serve others". One cannot "combine Christian life and worldliness", "superstitious practices" and "a hostile attitude to one's neighbor".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The "Gospel testimony" has spread throughout the world like "a beneficial fire", worshiping God and serving others with ever new "charitable initiatives" and purifying us of "compromises of all kinds," said Pope Francis this morning before the Angelus prayer. He was addressing the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square and commented on today's Gospel (Luke 12.49-53), in which Jesus speaks of the "fire" which he came to throw on the earth.
The Pope said: "These words are intended to help the disciples to abandon all attitudes of laziness, apathy, indifference and closure to welcome the fire of God's love; that love which, as St. Paul reminds us, "has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Rom 5: 5) ... He calls us to spread this fire in the world, thanks to which we will be recognized as his true disciples " .
"The fire of love, lit by Christ in the world through the Holy Spirit, is limitless, universal. This has been seen since the early days of Christianity: the testimony of the Gospel has spread like a beneficial fire, overcoming every division between individuals, social categories, peoples and nations. It burns every form of particularism and keeps alive a charity that is open to all, with one single preference: that for the poorest and the excluded ".
"Adherence to the fire of the love that Jesus brought to earth envelops our entire existence and requires adoration of God and also a willingness to serve others. Adoration of God means learning the prayer of adoration ... The second, [in our] willingness to serve others, leads me to think with admiration of many communities and groups of young people who, even during the summer, dedicate themselves to this service in favor of the sick, the poor, people with disabilities. In fact living according to the spirit of the Gospel requires disciples of Christ who know how to respond with new initiatives of charity to the every changing needs of the world. Thus the Gospel with adoration of God and serving others is truly manifested as the fire that saves, that changes the world starting from the change of the heart of each one of us".
"In this perspective, we can also understand the other affirmation of Jesus in today's passage, which at first glance can disconcert:" Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but a division "(Lk 12,51). He came to "separate with fire" the good from the evil, the just from the unjust. In this sense he came to 'divide', to put into crisis - but in a healthy way - the life of his disciples, breaking the easy illusions of those who believe they can combine Christian life and worldliness, Christian life and compromises of all kinds, religious practices and hostile attitudes towards others". In unscrioted comments he added: "Some think they can combine Christian life with superstitious practices ... How many go to get their hands read ...".
Pope Francis concluded: "It is not living in hypocracy way, but being willing to pay the price for choices consistent with the Gospel. It is good to say that we are Christians, but above all we must be Christians in concrete situations, bearing witness to the Gospel which is essentially love for God and for our brothers and sisters".