Tuesday, October 08, 2013

If today you hear his voice...

I like this very much:
“Open up your heart and listen to what God is saying to you. Allow your life to “written” by God”. Just as the Good Samaritan did when he stopped to help the stranger, we must all listen to God’s voice and sometimes put our own projects on hold to do his will.

Speaking to those present for morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis pointed out that it can happen that Christians, Catholics, priests. Bishops and even the Pope sometimes turn away from God!
Not to listen to his voice, not to take heed in our hearts of his proposal and his invitation– the Pope said – is a daily temptation. And he said there are many ways in which one can turn away from God, polite, sophisticated ways… And to better illustrate his message, Pope Francis recalled the parable recounted in the Gospel in which there is a half-dead man lying in the road. A priest walks by – a zealous priest wearing a cassock and on his way to say Mass. The priest looks at the man and says to himself “I will be late for Mass” and goes on his way. “He didn’t hear the voice of God” – Pope Francis pointed out.

Then a Levite passes by – the Pope continued – and perhaps he thinks “If I get involved and the man dies, then tomorrow I will have to go before the judge and give testimony…” so, the Pope continued “he too goes on his way. He too – Francis points out - “turns away from the voice of God”…

Only the Samaritan, a sinner, someone who habitually turns away from God had the capacity “to hear God and to understand his request”. Someone – the Pope observes – “who wasn’t used to participating in religious rites, who didn’t lead a “moral” life, who was theologically “wrong”, because – Pope Francis explained – Samaritans believed that God should be adored elsewhere, not where the Lord had said”. But “the Samaritan understood that God was calling him and he did not turn away. He went to the man, bound up his wounds, poured on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn and took care of him”. He gave up his whole evening for him.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis said, the priest was on time for Mass and the faithful were happy; the Levite’s schedule was not upset…. And the Pope asked: “why did Jonah run away from God when the Lord asked him to go to Ninevah and he boarded a ship to Spain? Why did the priest turn away from God? Why did the Levite turn away from God? Because their hearts were closed, and when your heart is closed you cannot hear the voice of God. Instead the Samaritan - he said - “saw and was moved with compassion”: his heart was open, he was human, and humanity brought him close to God. - Homily for Monday's Mass
If you really listen to the Pope - I think you'll get to understand him.

He speaks from experience I think.  It's the sinner's experience. 

Years ago, when I struggled with habitual sin, I tried to get to confession as soon as I could.  I would get up very early and drive a long distance to a church which had confessions first thing in the morning, right after the 6:30AM Mass.  I drove over the speed limit some mornings, just to be first in line after Mass.  I drove through stop lights - I broke the law.  One day I was going to confession at noon at a downtown church.  As I entered the parking lot I slightly brushed the fender of an old car parked on the street.  I didn't even bother to check for a scratch on my car or the other car - because I had to get in line for confession.  I was so determined to let no one and no thing get in my way.  I'm so ashamed that I acted like that - that I added to my sin.  I have so many stories like that - and at the time I failed to see the significance of my failings, my lack of charity - I was so intent upon being absolved from my 'bigger' sins.  At times, I've acted similarly in my mad rush to get to Mass on time.   Mea culpa!  But doesn't that sound a little bit like what the Pope was talking about?

On the other hand, have you ever been brushed off by a priest?  Have you ever asked for advice or direction, only to be brushed off, your concerns not taken seriously?  Or because he was too busy?  To much in a rush?  Have you ever brushed off some one else because you had better things to do?

I'm so grateful for such a simple, honest, Holy Father.  It amazes me how well he understands the sinner, how he welcomes them and eats with them.



  1. Your "late for confession" confession really got me. Ouch. I'm very much the same. One of my sons said he was going to get me a bumper sticker similar to "Drive it like you stole it." that said, "Drive it like you're late for
    Church." You will find me in the "miserable sinner" line every day. Pope Francis makes me feel more hopeful about that fact.

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  3. I find highly annoying and somewhat patronising when a priest retells a Gospel parable with another parable, or even just retells the parable we've just heard like it's something novel. Happens all the time

  4. Terry, are you saying you understand this Pope? You must be closer to God that I imagined. You should get a real website and tell the pour souls like me what the Pope really means. {wink}

    Per the painting: A really good Samaritan would have at least wrapped the poor blighter in that sheet he's sitting on before hauling him all round town on an ass.

  5. Speaking of a good Samaritan...


    May heaven be her reward.


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