According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis suggested this today, March 23, 2017, during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, while reflecting on today’s first reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, which highlights the importance of listening to the Word of God.
To those who forget the wonder of the first meeting with Jesus, the Pope gave some advice: “Each of us can ask ourselves today: ‘Have I stopped listening to the Word of God, taking the Bible in my hands and talking only to myself? Has my heart been hardened?”
“Am I far from the Lord? Have I lost my fidelity to the Lord and do I live with the idols that offer me worldliness every day? Have I lost the joy of the wonder of my first meeting with Jesus?”
“When we do not stop to listen to the voice of the Lord we end up moving away, we turn away from Him, we turn our backs. And if we do not listen to the voice of the Lord, we listen to other voices.”
In doing so, he pointed out, we become unfaithful or even “Catholic atheists.”
If we do not listen to God’s voice, then in the end we listen to the voices of idols, he underscored, noting that eventually, “we become deaf: deaf to the Word of God.”
“And all of us, if we stop a little today and look at our hearts, we will see how many times – how many times! – we close our ears and how many times we have become deaf.”
Francis lamented when a people, a community, including parishes and dioceses, close their ears and “become deaf to the Word of the Lord,” meaning “they search for other voices, other lords, and it ends with idols, the idols of the world, the worldliness that society offers.”
That community, he said, distances itself from the living God.
Catholic paganos or catholic atheists
If the heart hardens, the Pontiff warned, we become “Catholic pagans,” even “Catholic atheists.”
As we move away from the Lord, the Pope added, our hearts harden and one moves further away from God every day.
These two things–not listening to God’s Word and a hardened heart, closed in on itself–the Holy Father stressed, causes many to lose their sense of fidelity.
In this scenario, he said, we have no reference to the love of the living God, and we risk becoming unfaithful Catholics, Catholic pagans or, uglier still, Catholic atheists.
How does it end…
The Pope then asked, “This infidelity, how does it end?”
Referring to the Gospel passage from St Luke, in which Jesus is accused of healing people through the power of Beelzebul, he responded: “It ends in confusion; you do not know where God is or where He is not, you confuse God with the devil.”
This failure to listen and this hardening of the heart, the Pope cautioned, “leads to confusion, making you forget fidelity and, ultimately, blaspheming.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying for us to obtain the grace to listen, “so that our hearts will not be hardened.”