In his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning , Pope Francis warned that “scandals destroy faith” and that all Christians are “capable of scandalizing” others with our actions.
According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel from St. Luke in which Jesus warns of those who cause others to sin through their scandal. “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin,” Jesus says.
The Pope said that one common scandal is to say that one is Christian yet continue living like a pagan.
“When a Christian man or a Christian woman, who goes to church, is part of the parish, does not live in this way, they cause scandal. How often have we heard men and women say: ‘ I do not go to church because it is better to be honest at home and not go to church like that man or woman who then does this, this, this …’”, he said.
“Scandal destroys, it destroys the faith! And that is why Jesus is so strong: ‘Beware! Watch out!’ It would do us good to repeat this today: ‘Be on your guard!’. All of us are capable of causing scandal.”
The Holy Father noted that Christ calls on all to forgive because it is that which identifies them as Christians. “A Christian who is not able to forgive,” he said, “causes scandal: he is not Christian.”
“We have to forgive, because we have been forgiven. This is in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us about it there,” he continued. “Human logic is incapable of fathoming this. Human logic leads us not to forgive, to seek revenge; it leads to hate, division.”
The Pope went on to lament how families break apart because of their inability to forgive. If one does not forgive, he stressed, it means that he/she does not understand what it means to be forgiven by God.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis told the faithful that only through the light of faith is one capable of living without scandal and always forgiving.
One doesn’t get faith by reading books or going to conferences, he said. “Faith is a gift of God that comes to you and this why the Apostles asked Jesus, ‘Increase our faith!’”