Pope Francis in his daily homily today once again has some wonderfully simple and incisive words regarding opening the doors to the faith rather than putting obstacles to it.
Here is Radio Vatican’s recounting of the Holy Father’s homily.
The day’s Gospel tells us that Jesus rebukes the disciples who seek to remove children that people bring to the Lord to bless. “Jesus embraces them, kisses them, touches them, all of them. It tires Jesus and his disciples “want it to stop”. Jesus is indignant: “Jesus got angry, sometimes.” And he says: “Let them come to me, do not hinder them. For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” “The faith of the People of God is a simple faith, a faith that is perhaps without much theology, but it has an inward theology that is not wrong, because the Spirit is behind it…..the holy people of God … cannot err in matters of belief” (Lumen Gentium)…… If you want to know who Mary is go to the theologian and he will tell you exactly who Mary is. But if you want to know how to love Mary go to the People of God who teach it better…. The people of God are always asking for something closer to Jesus, they are sometimes a bit ‘insistent in this. But it is the insistence of those who believe…..I remember once, coming out of the city of Salta, on the patronal feast, there was a humble lady who asked for a priest’s blessing. The priest said, ‘All right, but you were at the Mass’ and explained the whole theology of blessing in the church. You did well: ‘Ah, thank you father, yes father,’ said the woman. When the priest had gone, the woman turned to another priest: ‘Give me your blessing!’. All these words did not register with her, because she had another necessity: the need to be touched by the Lord. That is the faith that we always look for , this is the faith that brings the Holy Spirit. We must facilitate it, make it grow, help it grow. “The Pope also mentioned the story of the blind man of Jericho, who was rebuked by the disciples because he cried to the Lord, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!””The Gospel says that they didn’t want him to shout, they wanted him not to shout but he wanted to shout more, why? Because he had faith in Jesus! The Holy Spirit had put faith in his heart. And they said, ‘No, you cannot do this! You don’t shout to the Lord. Protocol does not allow it. And ‘the second Person of the Trinity! Look what you do… ‘as if they were saying that, right? “.And think about the attitude of many Christians:”Think of the good Christians, with good will, we think about the parish secretary, a secretary of the parish … ‘Good evening, good morning, the two of us – boyfriend and girlfriend – we want to get married’. And instead of saying, ‘That’s great!’. They say, ‘Oh, well, have a seat. If you want the Mass, it costs a lot … ‘. This, instead of receiving a good welcome- It is a good thing to get married! ‘- But instead they get this response:’ Do you have the certificate of baptism, all right … ‘. And they find a closed door. When this Christian and that Christian has the ability to open a door, thanking God for this fact of a new marriage … We are many times controllers of faith, instead of becoming facilitators of the faith of the people. “And ‘there is always a temptation – said the Pope – “try and take possession of the Lord….Think about a single mother who goes to church, in the parish and to the secretary she says: ‘I want my child baptized’. And then this Christian, this Christian says: ‘No, you cannot because you’re not married!’. But look, this girl who had the courage to carry her pregnancy and not to return her son to the sender, what is it? A closed door! This is not zeal! It is far from the Lord! It does not open doors! And so when we are on this street, have this attitude, we do not do good to people, the people, the People of God, but Jesus instituted the seven sacraments with this attitude and we are establishing the eighth: the sacrament of pastoral customs! “.”Jesus is indignant when he sees these things because those who suffer are “his faithful people, the people that he loves so much””We think today of Jesus, who always wants us all to be closer to Him, we think of the Holy People of God, a simple people, who want to get closer to Jesus and we think of so many Christians of goodwill who are wrong and that instead of opening a door they close the door of goodwill … So we ask the Lord that all those who come to the Church find the doors open, find the doors open, open to meet this love of Jesus. We ask this grace. “