Our faith calls for concreteness and rejects ideologies….
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis suggested this today, April 24, 2017, during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, his first since the Easter break.
The Pope’s homily focused on the Gospel account of Jesus’ meeting with Nicodemus, and how Jesus, with love and patience, explained to Nicodemus that he must be “born from above… born of the Holy Spirit.” To understand this better, the Pope said, one can consider the first Reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles.
Peter and John, the Holy Father remembered, healed a crippled man, and the doctors of the Law didn’t know what to do, how “to hide” what happened, “because the event was public.” When they were questioned, the Pope explained that Peter and John “answered with simplicity.”
When they were ordered not to speak about what happened, Peter responded, “No! We cannot remain silent about what we have seen and heard. And we will continue to do as we have been doing.”
The Pope cautioned against ever incorrectly thinking our faith is not concrete.
“At times, we forget that our faith is concrete: the Word was made flesh; it is not made an idea. And when we recite the Creed, everything we say is concrete: ‘I believe in God the Father, Who made heaven and earth; I believe in Jesus Christ Who was born, Who died…’
These are, Francis stressed, all concrete things.
“Our Creed does not say, ‘I have to do this, I have to do that, I have to do something else, or that some things are for these ends.’ No! They are concrete things. [This is] the concreteness of the faith that leads to frankness, to bearing witness even to the point of martyrdom, which is against compromises or the idealization of the faith.”
At times, the Holy Father suggested, even the Church has fallen into “a theology of ‘yes you can,’ ‘no you can’t.”
No Rigidity, Nor Faltering
Recalling that for these doctors of the law, the Word “was not made flesh, but “made law: and you must do this up to this point, and no further,” “you must do this, and nothing else,” he warned: “And so they were imprisoned in this rationalistic mentality, which did not end with them.”
This mentality, he cautioned, “forgot the strength, the liberty of the Spirit, this rebirth of the Spirit that gives you liberty, the frankness of preaching, the proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
The Lord, Francis underscored, gives us the Spirit in order to proclaim the Gospel without rigidity.
Pope Francis concluded, praying: “May the Lord grand to all of us this paschal Spirit, of going forward along the path of the Spirit without compromises, without rigidity, with the liberty of proclaiming Jesus Christ as He Who has come: in the flesh.”
Among those present at the Mass, Vatican Radio reported, were the cardinals who compose the C-9, the Council of Cardinals, who start meetings today with Pope Francis and conclude Wednesday afternoon.