Remain faithful in uncertain times, urges Pope Francis
Pope Francis celebrates morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta April 14, 2020. VATICAN MEDIA
By Catholic News Agency
April 14, 2020
VATICAN— In uncertain times, our ultimate goal should be to remain faithful to the Lord rather than to seek our own security, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass Tuesday.
Speaking from the chapel of his Vatican residence, the Casa Santa Marta, April 14, the pope said: “Many times when we feel secure we begin to make our plans and slowly move away from the Lord; we do not remain faithful. And my security is not what the Lord gives me. It is an idol.”
To Christians who object that they do not bow before idols, he said: “No, perhaps you do not kneel, but that you seek them and so many times in your heart you worship idols, it is true. Many times. Your own safety opens the door to idols.”
Pope Francis reflected on the Second Book of Chronicles, which describes how King Rehoboam, the first leader of the Kingdom of Judah, became complacent and departed from the law of the Lord, taking his people with him.
“But is your own safety bad?” the pope asked. “No, it’s a grace. Be secure, but also be sure that the Lord is with me. But when there is safety and I am at the center, I turn away from the Lord, like King Rehoboam, I become unfaithful.”
“It is so difficult to remain faithful. The whole history of Israel, and then the whole history of the Church, is full of infidelity. Full. Full of selfishness, full of its own certainties that make the people of God move away from the Lord, lose that fidelity, the grace of fidelity.”
Focusing on the day’s second reading (Acts 2:36-41), in which Peter calls people to repentance on the day of Pentecost, the pope said: “To convert is this: to return to being faithful. Fidelity, that human attitude which is not so common in people’s lives, in our lives. There are always illusions that attract attention, and many times we want to hide behind these illusions. Fidelity: in good times and bad times.”
The pope said that the day’s Gospel reading (John 20:11-18) offered an “icon of fidelity”: the image of a weeping Mary Magdalene keeping vigil beside Jesus’ tomb.
“She was there,” he said, “faithful, faced with the impossible, faced with tragedy … A weak but faithful woman. The icon of fidelity of this Mary of Magdala, apostle to the apostles.”
Inspired by Mary Magdalene, we should pray for the gift of faithfulness, the pope said.
“Let us ask the Lord today for the grace of fidelity: to give thanks when He gives us certainties, but never think that they are ‘my’ certainties and always, look beyond one’s own certainties; the grace of being faithful even before the tombs, before the collapse of so many illusions.”
After Mass, the pope presided at adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, before leading those watching via livestream in a prayer of spiritual communion.
Finally, the congregation sang the Easter Marian antiphon “Regina caeli”.
At the start of Mass, the pope prayed that the challenges of the coronavirus crisis would help people to overcome their differences.
“Let us pray that the Lord will give us the grace of unity among us,” he said. “May the difficulties of this time make us discover the communion among us, the unity that is always superior to any division.”