In his homily at Casa Santa Marta today, Pope Francis said that because of selfishness, Christians at times can be afraid of the gratuitousness of God.
Today’s Gospel from St. Luke spoke on the parable of the man who held a great banquet, only to be refused by his guests who were busy with other matters. Enraged, the master of the banquet commanded his servant to invite “the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame” to his feast.
According to Vatican Radio, the Pope said that the guests who turned down the master’s invitation only had their own interests at heart rather than sharing a meal with a friend. Had they been invited to dine with businessmen, he said, “no one would have excused themselves.”
“It is so difficult to listen to the voice of Jesus, the voice of God, when you believe that that the whole world revolves around you: there is no horizon, because you become your own horizon. And there is more behind all of this, something far deeper: fear of gratuity. We are afraid of God’s gratuity. He is so great that we fear Him”.
All Christians, he continued, have this fear of God’s generosity toward us, because many times, “we feel safer in our sins, in our limitations, but feel at home.” This fear, he noted, brings Christians to not answer God’s invitation in order to not leave that safety net.
“Catholics, but not too Catholic,” the Pope said. “Trusting in the Lord, but not too much. This ‘but not too much’ marks our lives, it belittles us.”
Recalling the master’s order to invite the poor and crippled to the banquet, and even to force people to the feast, the 77-year-old Pontiff said that the Lord does the same with us “with trials, so many trials.”
“Compel that heart, that soul to believe in God’s gratuity, that God’s gift is free, that salvation cannot be bought: it is a great gift, the love of God is the greatest gift! This is gratuity!,” he exclaimed.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to accept the invitation to this banquet which was paid by Christ “with His humiliation unto death, death on a cross.”
“Today, the Church asks us not to be afraid of the gratuitousness of God,” he said. “Instead we must open our hearts, do our part as much as we can, because He will prepare the banquet.”