Pope: what if tomorrow a Martian asked for baptism?
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Holy Spirit is "moving the Church forward", even on new paths and we cannot close the door to him: what would happen "if Martians arrived tomorrow" and one asked for baptism? The question was posed today by Pope Francis during the mass celebrated at Casa Santa Marta to denounce the temptation to "steer" an indication that comes from God .
The Pope, Vatican Radio reports, was commenting on a reading from the Acts of the Apostles. A community of pagans welcomes the announcement of the Gospel and Peter is an eyewitness to the descent of the Holy Spirit on them. First hesitates to make contact with what he had always considered "unclean " and then he suffers harsh criticism from the Christians of Jerusalem, shocked by the fact that their leader had eaten with the "uncircumcised" and had even baptized them. A moment of internal crisis that Pope Francis recalls with a hint of irony : "That was unthinkable. If - for example - tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here ... Martians, right? Green , with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them... And one says, 'But I want to be baptized! ' . What would happen ? " .
Peter understands his error when a vision enlightens him to a fundamental truth: that which has been purified by God cannot be called "profane" by anyone. And in narrating these facts to the crowd that criticized him, the Apostle, calms them all with this statement : " If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God? " .
"When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, 'No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, lets do it this way ' ... and Peter in that first diocese - the first diocese was Antioch - makes this decision: 'Who am I to admit impediments?'. A nice word for bishops, for priests and for Christians . Who are we to close doors? In the early Church, even today, there is the ministry of the ostiary [usher]. And what did the ostiary do? He opened the door, received the people, allowed them to pass. But it was never the ministry of the closed door, never".
Again Pope Francis repeated, God has left the guidance of the Church "in the hands of the Holy Spirit". "The Holy Spirit - he continued - as Jesus said, will teach us everything" and "remind us what Jesus taught us":
"The Holy Spirit is the living presence of God in the Church. He keeps the Church going, keeps the Church moving forward. More and more, beyond the limits, onwards. The Holy Spirit with his gifts guides the Church . You cannot understand the Church of Jesus without this Paraclete, whom the Lord sends us for this very reason. And he makes unthinkable choices, but unimaginable! To use a word of St. John XXIII : it is the Holy Spirit that updates the Church: Really, he really the updates it and keeps it going. And we Christians must ask the Lord for the grace of docility to the Holy Spirit. Docility in this Spirit, who speaks to us in our heart, who speaks to us in all of life's circumstances, who speaks to us in the Church's life, in Christian communities, who is always speaking to us".