Pope Francis this morning during his daily Mass at Santa Marta reflected on the temptation that everyone, even Christians, can face to flee from God. Among the faithful present at the Holy Father’s morning Mass were a number of accredited journalists from the Holy See Press Office.
The Pope, who on October 13th will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was dressed in a white chasuble to honor the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Speaking on the first reading, which recalled the story of Jonah who fled upon receiving the call from God to preach against Nineveh, the Holy Father told the faithful gathered that the act of “fleeing from God” is a temptation faced daily by all.
“You can flee from God, even while being a Christian, being a Catholic, or a member of Catholic Action, a priest, bishop, Pope […] everyone, everyone of us can flee from God. It is a daily temptation. To not listen to God, to not listen to his voice, to not feel in our heart His proposal, His invitation,” the Pope said.
Another example of fleeing from God, the Holy Father indicated, is given in the Gospel of the Good Samaritan, particularly in the example that Christ’s gives of the priest who passes a man beaten on the side of a road.
“In the Gospel, there is this man who is half-dead, thrown on the pavement of the road, and by chance a priest was going down that road, a dignified priest, dressed properly in a cassock, good [priest], very good!” the Pope explained.
“He saw [him] and looked: ‘I’m going to be late for Mass’, and he left. He did not hear the voice of God there.”
Pope Francis observed that while a Levite also passes the stranger, the only one who stopped was one who “habitually flees from God: a sinner, a Samaritan.” Despite his differences in religious practices, and even though he came from a theological background that was wrong, the Samaritan doesn’t flee, instead “he understood that God called him” there.
“Why does Jonah flee from God? Why does the priest flee from God? Why does the Levite flee from God?” the Pope asked. “It’s because their hearts were closed, and when your heart is closed, you can no longer hear the voice of God. Instead, a Samaritan who was on a journey ‘saw him and was moved with compassion: his heart was open, he was human.”
The 76 year old Pontiff stated that those who flee from God, like Jonah, the priest and the Levite all had a set plan for their lives, while the Samaritan allowed God to write the story of his life.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to ask themselves whether they allow God to write the story of our lives or do we want to write our own plans.
“I am sure that we all see that the Samaritan, the sinner did not flee from God. May the Lord allow us to listen to the voice of the Lord, His voice, which tells us: Go, and do the same as well,” he said.
After the Mass, the Holy Father greeted the journalists, among whom ZENIT was also present.