Humility and prayer are the two attitudes necessary to not twist the Word of God according to our own interests and desires. This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
The Holy Father based his homily on the Gospel according to Matthew, which recalled Jesus parable’ of murderous tenants who kill their landowner’s son in order to rob his inheritance. The Pope said that the parable was directed to the Pharisees to show where “they had fallen into for not have their hearts opened to the Word of God.”
“They had taken over the Word of God,” he explained. “And the Word of God had become their word, a word according to their interests, their ideology, their theology…at their service. And each one interprets it according to their will, according to their own interests. This is the drama of these people. And to preserve this, they kill. This happened to Jesus.”
When the Pharisees fell into this line of interpretation of the Word of God, the Pope continued, it is difficult for the Holy Spirit to act. The Holy Spirit is essentially “trapped in the desires of each one of them.” The Holy Father warned that we can do the same when we are not obedient to the Word of God.
“But there is a word that gives us hope. The Word of God is dead in the hearts of these people; it can also die in our hearts! But it doesn’t end, because it is alive in the hearts of the simple, of the humble, of the people of God,” he said.
“[The Pharisees] sought to capture him, but they feared the crowd of the people of God, because they considered him a prophet. That simple crowd – that followed behind Jesus, because that which Jesus said did good in their hearts, it warmed their hearts – these people were not mistaken: they did not use the Word of God for their own interests, they felt and looked to be a bit better.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis highlighted two essential attitudes in order to understand and obey the Word of God: humility and prayer.
“[The Pharisees] people did not pray. They had no need to pray. They felt secure, they felt strong, they felt like ‘gods’,” he noted.
“With humility and prayer, we go forward to listen to the Word of God and obey it. In the Church. Humility and prayer in the Church. And so, what happened to these people will not happen to us: we will not kill to defend the Word of God, that Word which we believe is the World of God, but it is a word that is totally altered by us.” (J.A.E.)