Conversion is a journey of action, Pope says
Jubilee audience in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis on Nov. 12, 2016. LUCIA BALLESTER/CNA
VATICAN– Pope Francis urged Catholics in Tuesday’s homily not only to avoid evil, but to pursue good in concrete actions, likening the Lenten conversion to a journey.
“Avoiding evil and learning to do good: this is the rule of conversion. Because being converted doesn’t come from a fairy who converts us with a magic wand: No! It’s a journey. It’s a journey of avoiding and of learning,” said the Pope during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
Beginning his homily with the first step of the journey, the Pope said that we must recognize “Each one of us, every day, does something ugly.” He emphasized the importance of recognizing our own sins and he referenced to a quote from the book of Proverbs: “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.”
This sin, he said, “poisons the soul,” but he encouraged the faithful not to worry, for God responds with the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “though your sins should be like scarlet, they will become white as snow.”
Pope Francis insisted that refusing evil is not enough, but we must learn to do good with a child-like attitude. He said, “Along the path of life, of the Christian life…You have to learn every day to do something, to be better than the day before,” and good must be practiced through concrete actions and not just words.
The Pope pointed to the examples of Jesus in the Gospel: to “relieve the oppressed, give orphans justice, defend the cause of the widow.” He also spoke on the “ruling class of the people of Israel,” rebuked by Christ “because ‘they talk and don’t act,’ they don’t know concreteness.”
This Lenten conversion is difficult and doesn’t occur over night, Pope Francis said, but added that the Lord walks “with us to help us, to explain things to us, to take us by the hand” and heal our iniquities.
“And this is the path of Lenten conversion. Simple. It is the Father who speaks, it is the Father who loves us, who really loves us. And who accompanies us on this path of conversion.”