Pope Francis on Reform

Pope Francis’ homily Saturday morning during Mass in Domus Sanctae Marta with Vatican security guards and firemen:

Reflecting on the liturgy of the Word on the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the Pope drew a lesson from an episode in the life of the early Christian community. The passage describes the Greeks and Jews arguing over practical necessities: in particular, the aid to be given to widows.

Pope Francis commented that, rather than openly address the problem, their first reaction is one of whispered criticism and gossip.

“But this does lead to any solution, this does not give solutions. The Apostles, with the help of the Holy Spirit, responded well: they summoned the group of disciples and spoke to them. And this is the first step: when there are difficulties, we need to look closely at them, and confront them and speak about them. But never hide them”.

Pope Francis noted this is what the Apostles did: they did not hide the problem, but assessed it, made a decision without equivocating. Having understood that their first duty “was prayer and ministry of the Word”, they appointed deacons who would assist them in the ministry of service.

The Holy Father continued this theme, referring to the Gospel of the day in which Jesus rescues the disciples from the stormy lake:

“We must not be afraid of problems: Jesus himself said to his disciples: ‘It is I. Do not be afraid’. In life’s difficulties, with problems, with new things that we must face: the Lord is always with us. We may make mistakes, certainly, but he is always with us and says: ‘You made a mistake, now get back on the right path (…) Masquerading life, disguising life, is not a very good way to behave: no no. Life is what it is, that’s the reality. It’s exactly as God wants it to be, or as God allows it to be, it is what it is, and we have to accept it as it is. And the Spirit of the Lord will give us the solution to our problems.”

Pope Francis repeated the words of Jesus to his disciples: “It is I, do not be afraid!” In our darkest moments, when we don’t know what to do, we must always remember these words of Jesus. Thus, concluded Pope Francis, we should learn to take life as it comes with the help of the Holy Spirit. “In this way we can move forward, certain of being on the right path”:

“We ask the Lord for this grace: to not be afraid, to not falsify life, to take life as it comes and look to resolve problems as the Apostles did, and also seek out the encounter with Jesus who always at our side, even in the darkest moments of life”.

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