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Santa Marta - Copyright: Vatican Media

‘Fear of the Lord’ Isn’t About Being Afraid, Says Pope in Morning Homily

Christmas gives us examples of humility, and the joy that comes from it, Francis says at Casa Santa Marta

Those who are truly humble walk in “fear of the Lord,” Pope Francis said today, reflected that at Christmas we see many examples of this humility and smallness.

The Pope said this during his homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, Vatican Radio reported.

He spoke of the reference in the first reading from the Book of Isaiah to the small shoot that “shall sprout from the stump of Jesse.”

“Then at Christmas, we see this smallness, this little thing: a baby, a stable, a mother, a father… little ones.  (They have) big hearts but the attitude of a child.  And the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit comes to rest on this shoot and this small shoot will have the virtue of the childlike and the fear of the Lord.  He will walk in the fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord is not terror: no, it is putting into practice God’s commandment that he gave to our father Abram: ‘Live in my presence, be perfect.’ Humble – this is humility, fear of the Lord is humility.”

It is the childlike who know how to be humble and live fear of the Lord, the Pope said.

“Living our humility, Christian humility, means having this fear of the Lord which, I repeat, is not terror but is: ‘You are God, I am a person, I journey forward in this way with the little things of life but walking in Your presence and trying to be perfect.’ Humility is the virtue of the childlike and this is true humility and not a rather theatrical humility: no, not that: the humility of somebody who said: ‘I am humble but proud of being so.’ No, that is not true humility. The humility of the childlike is that of somebody who walks in the presence of the Lord, does not speak badly about others, looks only at serving and feels that he or she is the smallest …. That is where their strength lies.”

The Holy Father praised Mary’s humility, as a girl who receives the gift of God’s son and then goes immediately to serve her cousin, saying nothing about what has happened.

Humility is like this, he said, journeying in the presence of the Lord, happy, joyful because they are humble, just as we see in today’s gospel reading.

“Looking at Jesus who rejoiced because God reveals his mystery to the humble, we can ask for the grace of humility for all of us, the grace of fear of God, of walking in his presence trying to be perfect. And in this way with this humility, we can be vigilant in prayer, carrying out works of brotherly charity and rejoicing and giving praise.”

Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Tuesday of the First Week in Advent
Lectionary: 176

Reading 1 IS 11:1-10

On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

R. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
He shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 10:21-24

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

About Kathleen Naab

United States

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