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Pope Francis Talks about Complaining 24.03.20


Pope Francis: Talks about Complaining 24.03.20


Pope Francis   24.03.20  Holy Mass Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)     Ezekiel 47: 1-9, 12,        John 5: 1-16
Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent - Lectionary Cycle II
Pope Francis talks about Complaining 24.03.20

Today's liturgy makes us reflect on water, water as a sign of salvation, because it is a means of salvation, but water is also a means of destruction: we think of the Flood ... But in these readings, water is for salvation.

In the first reading, that water that leads to life, that heals the waters of the sea, a new water that heals. And in the Gospel, the pool, that pool where the sick went, full of water, to heal themselves, because it was said that every now and then the waters moved, like a river, because an angel came down from the sky to move them, and the first, or the first, who threw themselves into the water were healed. And many – as Jesus says – many sick people, "lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled", there waiting for healing, for the water to move. There was a man who had been ill for 38 years. 38 years there, waiting for healing. It makes us think. It's a bit long isn't it? Because someone who wants to be healed arranges to have someone to help him move, quickly, even smartly ... but he was there 38 years, at a certain point we don't even know if he is alive or dead ... Jesus, seeing him lying there, and knowing the reality, that he had been there for a long time, said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" And the answer is interesting: he doesn't say yes, he complains. About the disease? No. The sick man said, "Sir, I don't have anyone to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed. While I'm about to go there – I'm about to make the decision to go – another gets down there before me." A man who always gets there late. Jesus says to him, "Get up, pick up your mat and walk." Instantly that man was cured.

It makes us think about this man's behaviour. Was he sick? Yes, maybe he had some paralysis, but it looks like he could walk a little. But he was sick in the heart, he was sick in the soul, he was ill with pessimism, he was ill with sadness, he was sick with spiritual laziness. This was this man's illness: "Yes, I want to live, but ...", he just stayed there. But the answer should have been, "Yes, I want to be healed!" But no, it's complaining, "It's the others who get there first, always the others." The response to Jesus' offering to heal is a complaint against others. And so, 38 years complaining about others. And doing nothing to get better.

It was a sabbath: we heard what the doctors of the law did. But the key is the encounter with Jesus, after. He found him in the Temple and said, "Look, you are healed. Don't sin anymore, so that nothing worse may happen to you." That man was in sin, but he wasn't there because he had done something really wrong, no. The sin of surviving on complaining about the lives of others: the sin of sadness that is the seed of the devil, of that inability to make a decision about one's own life, but yes, to look at the lives of others to complain. Not to criticize them: to complain. "They go first, I am the victim of this life": complaints, they breath complaints, these people.

If we make a comparison with the blind man from the birth that we heard about last Sunday, the other Sunday: how much joy, how decisive he had been about being healed, and also how decisively he went to discuss with the doctors of the Law! This one he just informs, "Yes it's him, that's it." Without involving himself in that life... It makes me think of so many of us, of so many Christians who live in this state of apathy, unable to do anything but complaining about everything. And apathy is a poison, it is a fog that surrounds the soul and does not make us live. And also, it's a drug because if you taste it often, you like it. And you end up "addicted to sadness", and "addicted to apathy" ... It's like air. And this is a quite habitual sin among us: sadness, apathy, I do not say melancholy but it is very similar.

It will do us good to reread this chapter 5 of John to see what this illness is like into which we may fall. Water is to save us. "But I can't save myself" – "Why?" – "Because it is the fault of others". And he remains there 38 years ... Jesus healed me: we don't see the reaction of others who are healed, who pick up their mat and dance, sing, give thanks, and say it to the whole world? No, he just goes ahead. The others say to him you shouldn't be doing that, he says: "But, the one who healed me told me to do it", and he just goes ahead. And then, instead of going to Jesus to thank he informs: "It was him." A grey life, grey because of this bad spirit that is apathy, sadness, melancholy.

Let us think of water, that water that is a symbol of our strength, of our life, of the water that Jesus used to regenerate us in Baptism. And let us also think of ourselves, if any of us have the danger of slipping into this apathy, into this neutral sin: the sin of neutral is this, neither white nor black, we do not know what it is. And this is a sin that the devil can use to drown our spiritual life and also our personal life. May the Lord help us understand how awful and how evil this sin is.

Spiritual Communion:
My Jesus, I believe you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I desire you in my soul. Because I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As I have come, I embrace you and unite myself to you. Don't ever let me be separated from You. Amen