(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday offered the Mass at Casa Santa Marta for his predecessor, the Pope Emeritus, on the occasion of Benedict XVI’s 88th birthday. “I want to remember that today is the birthday of Benedict XVI,” Pope Francis said at the liturgy. “I offered the Mass for him, and I invite you to pray for him, that the Lord might sustain him and grant him much joy and happiness.”
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In his homily, Pope Francis said those who do not know to dialogue do not obey God; they want to silence those who preach the newness of God.
Obeying God means having the courage to change paths
The liturgy of the day speaks to us about obedience, the Pope said. “Obedience often brings us along a path that is not the one I think should be, but along another path.” To obey is “to have the courage to change paths when the Lord asks this of us.” “The one who obeys has life eternal,” while for “the one who does not obey, the wrath of God remains upon him.” So, in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the priests and leaders order the disciples of Jesus to stop preaching the Gospel to the people: they became infuriated, they are “full of jealousy,” because miracles took place in the presence of the disciples, the people followed them, “and the number of believers grew.” They put the disciples in jail, but in the night, the Angel of the Lord freed them and they returned to proclaiming the Gospel. When he was arrested and questioned again, Peter responded to the threats of the high priest: “We must obey God rather than men.” The priests did not understand:
But they were teachers, they had studied the history of the people, they had studied the prophecies, they had studied the law, they knew all about the theology of the people of Israel, the revelation of God, they knew everything, they were teachers, and they were incapable of recognizing the salvation of God. But why this hardness of hard? Because it is not a hardness of the head, it is not simple stubbornness. Here it is hardness… And one can ask: What is the path of this stubbornness, this total stubbornness, of head and of heart?
The one who doesn’t know to dialogue does not obey God
“The history of this stubbornness, the journey,” the Pope emphasized, “is that of closing in on oneself, is that of not dialoguing, it is the lack of dialogue”:
They didn’t know to dialogue, they didn’t know to dialogue with God, because they didn’t know to pray and to hear the voice of God, and they didn’t know to dialogue with others. ‘But why did they understand in this way?’ They only interpreted how the law could be more precise, but they were closed to the signs of God in history, they were closed to the people, to their people. They were closed, closed. And the lack of dialogue, this closure of the heart, brought them to the point of not obeying God. This is the drama of these teachers of Israel, of these theologians of the people of God: they didn’t know to listen, they didn’t know to dialogue. Dialogue takes place with God and with the brethren.
The one who does not dialogue wants to silence those who preach the newness of God
And the sign that reveals that a person “does not know to dialogue,” “is not open to the voice of the Lord, to the signs that the Lord does among the people,” the Pope said, is the “fury and the desire to silence all those who preach in this case the newness of God, that is that Jesus is Risen. There’s no reason, but they reach this point. It is a sorrowful journey. These are the same people that paid the guards at the sepulchre to say that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus. They did everything they could to not open themselves to the voice of God.”
And in this Mass let us pray for the teachers, for the doctors, for those who teach the people of God, that they would not be closed in on themselves, that they would dialogue, and so save themselves from the wrath of God, which, if they do not change their attitude, will remain upon them.
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