Remember the blessings God has given you.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis urged faithful to do this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, drawing from today’s Gospel from St. Mark, in which Jesus addresses the Priests, Scribes and Pharisees with the parable of the murderous tenant-farmers.
In the reading, the tenants revolt against the landowner who planted a well-organized vineyard and entrusted them with its care. They insult, beat and kill, first, the servants that the master sent to reclaim the land and collect his due, and then, at the drama’s climax, murder the owner’s only son, believing– incorrectly–that such an act could earn them a right to inherit the owner’s substance.
The Pope used this passage to reflected on the threefold theme of the dynamic unity in Christian life, the signs of which are memory, prophecy, and hope.
Stressing that those who killed in today’s reading were without these three elements, the Pope lamented that the leaders of the people, in particular, were interested in erecting a wall of laws, a “closed juridical system,” and nothing else.
“Memory is no concern…This is the system through which they legitimate: the lawyers, theologians who always go the way of casuistry and do not allow the freedom of the Holy Spirit; they do not recognize God’s gift, the gift of the Spirit; and they cage the Spirit, because they do not allow prophecy in hope.”
The Pontiff pointed out how Jesus criticized this religious system, which was marked by corruption, worldliness and concupiscence.
Jesus, Pope Francis acknowledged, “was Himself tempted to lose the memory of His own mission, to not give way to prophecy and to prefer security instead of hope,” i.e. the essence of the three temptations suffered in the desert.
Given Jesus knew temptation Himself, He reproached these people, the Pope explained, telling them: ‘You traverse half the world to have one proselyte, and when you find him, you make him a slave.’
“These people thus organized, this Church so organized, makes slaves – and so it is understandable how Paul reacts when he speaks of slavery to the law and of the liberty that grace gives: people are free, a Church is free, when it has memory, when it makes room for prophets, when it does not lose hope,” the Pope said.
The well-organized vineyard, the Pope explained, is in fact “the image of the People of God, the image of the Church and also the image of our soul,” for which the Father always cares “with much love and tenderness.”
In rebelling, the people lose memory of the gift they’ve received from God, the Argentine Pope said.
Urging faithful to remember their roots and blessings, the Pope asked, “Do I have the memory of the wonders that the Lord has wrought in my life? Can I remember the gifts of the Lord?
“Am I able to open my heart to the prophets, i.e. to him, who says to me, ‘this isn’t working, you have to go beyond: go ahead, take a risk’?” He noted that this is what prophets do. am I open to that, or am I afraid, and do I prefer to close myself within the cage of the law?
“Finally: do I have hope in God’s promises, such as had our father Abraham, who left his home without knowing where he was going, only because he hoped in God?”
Pope Francis concluded, urging those present to repeatedly ask themselves these three questions.