Pope’s Morning Homily: God’s Love Is Free

During Mass at Santa Marta, Says Don’t Try to Control Salvation

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God’s love is free, so don’t try to be a controller of salvation. 

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, urging those gathered to not be fooled by those who want to limit God’s love.

“One of the hardest things for all Christians to understand,” the Pope said, “is the gratuitousness of salvation in Jesus Christ.”

The Holy Father observed that some of us have gotten too used to hearing that Jesus is the Son of God, who came to love, save, and die for us, to the extent that some “prefer not to understand this truth.”

Francis spoke on how Jesus and St. Paul were criticized for promoting this idea by those scholars who did not understand. St. Paul, the Pope pointed out, met great difficulty in making his people realize that the “gratuitousness of salvation”  is true doctrine.

In reference to today’s feast day of St. Teresa, Pope Francis noted how this year marks the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila’s birth. He noted how we celebrate this mystic today, but she was also was judged in her day.

“How many saints,” the Holy Father lamented, “have been persecuted for defending love, the gratuitousness of salvation, the doctrine. Many saints. We think of Joan of Arc.”

The Holy Father reminded those gathered that the Lord has given faithful the grace “to understand the horizons of love” and warned them against those who try to convince us otherwise.

The Pope concluded, posing two questions: “Do I believe that the Lord saved me gratuitously, freely? Do I believe that I have done nothing to merit salvation?”

“Let us ask ourselves these questions,” the Pope urged, adding that, “only in this way will we be faithful to this merciful love: the love of a father and a mother, because God also says He is like a mother with us; love, expanded horizons, without limits.  And let us not be fooled by scholars [of the Law] who limit this love.”

Daily Mass readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church


Reading 1

ROM 3:21-30

Brothers and sisters:

Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,

though testified to by the law and the prophets,

the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ

for all who believe.

For there is no distinction;

all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.

They are justified freely by his grace

through the redemption in Christ Jesus,

whom God set forth as an expiation,

through faith, by his Blood, to prove his righteousness

because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed,

through the forbearance of God–

to prove his righteousness in the present time,

that he might be righteous

and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.


What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out.

On what principle, that of works?

No, rather on the principle of faith.

For we consider that a person is justified by faith

apart from works of the law.

Does God belong to Jews alone?

Does he not belong to Gentiles, too?

Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one

and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith

and the uncircumcised through faith.

Responsorial Psalm

PS 130:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6AB

R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;

LORD, hear my voice!

Let your ears be attentive

to my voice in supplication.

R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,

Lord, who can stand?

But with you is forgiveness,

that you may be revered.

R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

I trust in the LORD;

my soul trusts in his word.

My soul waits for the LORD

more than sentinels wait for the dawn.

R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.


JN 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;

no one comes to the Father except through me.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.


LK 11:47-54

The Lord said:

“Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets 

whom your fathers killed.

Consequently, you bear witness and give consent

to the deeds of your ancestors,

for they killed them and you do the building.

Therefore, the wisdom of God said,

‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles;

some of them they will kill and persecute’

in order that this generation might be charged

with the blood of all the prophets

shed since the foundation of the world,

from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah

who died between the altar and the temple building.

Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!

Woe to you, scholars of the law!

You have taken away the key of knowledge.

You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”

When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees

began to act with hostility toward him

and to interrogate him about many things,

for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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