If one loses the capacity to feel oneself loved, one loses everything, said Pope Francis during Mass at Santa Marta Residence in the Vatican, November 7, 2017. If one doesn’t understand the gratuitousness of God’s invitation, one doesn’t understand anything, he added.
In his homily, reported on Vatican Radio in Italian, the Pontiff commented on today’s Gospel (Luke 14:15-24) where those invited to a great dinner refused to attend: they were “gripped” in a “slavery of the spirit,” “incapable of understanding the gratuitousness of the invitation.”
“And if one doesn’t understand the gratuitousness of God’s invitation, one doesn’t understand anything,” warned the Pope. “God’s initiative is always free, but to go to this banquet, what must one pay? The entrance ticket is to be sick, to be poor, to be a sinner…thus they’ll let you come in. The entrance ticket is to be needy in body and in soul,” he continued.
Divine gratuitousness has no limits.” God “receives everyone,” stressed the Holy Father, castigating those that protest:” But he who has spent all the money, who has squandered the inheritance, with his vices, with his sins, you have a feast for him? And I, who am a practicing Catholic, who go to Mass every Sunday, who accomplish things, is there nothing for me?’ He (who says that) doesn’t understand the gratuitousness of salvation, he thinks that salvation is the fruit of ‘I pay and You save me.’ I pay with this, with that. “
You Don’t Understand Anything
“No, salvation is free! the Holy Father reminded. And if you aren’t in this dynamic of gratuitousness, you don’t understand anything. Salvation is a gift of God to which one responds with another gift, the gift of one’s heart.”
The Lord “doesn’t ask for anything in exchange, only love, fidelity, as He is love and He is fidelity.” “Salvation isn’t purchased, one simply enters in the banquet,” he continued.
Those who refuse “feel themselves sure; they think they are “saved in their way outside of the banquet,” noted the Pontiff. “They have lost the sense of gratuitousness,” the “sense of love.” “They have lost something greater and more beautiful yet and it’s very bad: they have lost the capacity to feel loved.”
“And when you lose – I don’t say the capacity to love, because one can find it again – the capacity to feel loved, there is no hope, you have lost everything. This makes us think of the inscription that is on the door of Dante’s Hell: ‘Leave All Hope’ Behind, Ye Who Enter Here.’ You have lost everything.”
The Lord “is so great, He is so loving, that in His gratuitousness He wills to fill His abode. Let us ask the Lord to preserve us from losing the capacity to feel loved,” concluded the Pontiff.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester