Holiness comes in guarding the gifts God gave us gratuitously.
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis suggested this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, today, Jan. 21, as he reflected on the Responsorial Psalm and today’s First Reading
Recalling today’s readings, the Pope highlighted how no one can buy the gifts of the Lord, since He gives them to us freely, not based on our own merits.
Stressing that being Christian, or being priest or bishop, are gifts from the Lord, he warned that seeking favors to have one’s career grow in the Church, is not Christian.
The Holy Father asked those present to reflect on the great gift they have received, of being Christian.
He invited those present to reflect on their own presence at Mass saying “why did the Lord choose us?” Not because, he comes from a Christian family or a Christian culture,” in fact, he said, many such people end up rejecting the Lord.
Pointing out the gratuitousness of God’s choice, the Pope spoke also of how priests and bishops have received their anointment for free.
“There are, yes, those who want to go ahead in the so-called ecclesiastical careers, who behave in a simonical way, seeking influences, becoming climbers,” he said, but he pointed out that that is not the Christian way.
“Being Christian, being baptized, being ordained priests and bishops is pure gratuitousness. You can’t buy the Lord’s gifts,” he said.
The Holy Father spoke about how we can “be holy.”
Christian holiness, Pope Francis went on to say, is “to preserve the Lord’s gift, nothing more”, behaving in such a way that the Lord always remains with us.
The Pontiff criticized the attitude of those who “aim to climb the ladder” of a career in the Church, underscoring that to be anointed a bishop is a gift.
Francis urged Christians to live with humility, thus guarding God’s gift of having chosen us. And he spoke of the great gift of the Holy Spirit saying: “When the Lord elected us, He gave us the Holy Spirit. And that’s pure grace.”
The Pope warned Christians never to forget the people of God.
“If we priests forget our flock, if we bishops forget this and feel more important than others,” he noted, “we deny God’s gift.”
“It’s like telling the Holy Spirit we can manage on our own,” he said, noting, “and that’s not Christian.”
“That’s not guarding the gift,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis concluded, inviting faithful to ask the Lord today, “to give us the grace to give thanks for the great and beautiful gift He has given us, and to preserve it with faithfulness.”