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Pope’s Morning Homily: We Must Wait for God in Silence

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis assures that God will come to meet us in our darkness

At his morning Mass today in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis focused on three attitudes that are characteristic of the Christian: “standing” before God in “silence” to hear His voice, and readiness to “go out” into the world to proclaim what one has heard to others. The Pope also warned against the danger of paralyzing fear in Christian life, no matter where one is in one’s journey with God and regardless of one’s state of life in the Church:

This report is from Vatican Radio:

Standing upright and walking

To explore this issue, and how to escape the tunnel of fear, the Pope focused on the the prophet Elijah, from whose book the First Reading of the Day was taken. The Holy Father recalled how Elijah was victorious, how he “fought so much for the faith,” and defeated hundreds of idolaters on Mount Carmel. Then, he reaches a breaking point: one of the many acts of persecution aimed at him finally hit its mark, and he collapses in discouragement under a tree, waiting to die – except that God does not leave him in that state of prostration, but sends an angel with an imperative: get up, eat, go out:

“To meet God it is necessary to go back to the situation where the man was at the time of creation, standing and walking. Thus did God create us: capable of standing full upright before Him, in his image and likeness, and on our way with Him. ‘Go, go ahead: cultivate the land, make it grow; and multiply.’ [Then, to Elijah], ‘Enough! Go out and go up to the mountain and stand on the mountaintop in my presence.’ Elijah stood up on his feet, he set off on his way.”

The strain of a sonorous silence

Go out, and then to listen to God: only how can one be sure to meet the Lord on the way? Elijah was invited by the angel to go out of the cave on Mount Horeb, where he found shelter to stand in the “presence” of God. However, it is not the “mighty and strong” wind that splits the rocks, nor the earthquake that follows, nor even the fire that follows, which finally induces Elijah to go out:

“So much noise, so much majesty, so much bustle – and the Lord was not there. ‘After the fire, the whisper of a gentle breeze’ or, as it is in the original, ‘the strain of a sonorous silence’: and the Lord is there, speaking to us in it.

The hour of the mission

The angel’s third request to Elijah is: “Go out.” The prophet is invited to retrace his steps, to the desert, because he was given an assignment to fulfill. In this, emphasizes Francis, is captured the stimulus “to be on the way, not closed, not within the selfishness of our comfort,” but “brave” in “bringing to others the message of the Lord,” which is to say, “[to go on a] ‘mission’”:

“We must always seek the Lord. We all know how are the bad moments: moments that pull us down, moments without faith, dark, times when we do not see the horizon, we are unable to get up. “We all know this, but but it is the Lord who comes, who refreshes us with bread and with his strength and says: ‘Arise and be on your way! Walk!’ In order to meet the Lord we must be so: standing upright and on our way; then waiting for Him speak to us, with an open heart; and He will say, ‘It is I’ and there faith becomes strong – [and] is this faith for me to keep? No: It is for us to bring to others, to anoint others with it – it is for mission.”

 

Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 363

Reading 1 1 KGS 19:9A, 11-16

At the mountain of God, Horeb,
Elijah came to a cave, where he took shelter.
But the word of the LORD came to him,
“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by.”
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.
A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?”
He replied, “I have been most zealous for the LORD,
the God of hosts.
But the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant,
torn down your altars,
and put your prophets to the sword.
I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.”
The LORD said to him,
“Go, take the road back to the desert near Damascus.
When you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king of Aram.
Then you shall anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi, as king of Israel,
and Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah,
as prophet to succeed you.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 27:7-8A, 8B-9ABC, 13-14

R. (8b) I long to see your face, O Lord.
Hear, O LORD, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
R. I long to see your face, O Lord.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. I long to see your face, O Lord.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I long to see your face, O Lord.

Alleluia PHIL 2:15D, 16A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Shine like lights on the world,
as you hold on to the word of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 5:27-32

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful)
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

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