Simplicity


Pope Francis   16.03.20 Holy Mass Santa Marta       2 Kings 5: 1-15,      Luke 4: 24-30
Monday of the Third Week of Lent - Lectionary Cycle II 
Pope Francis Talks about Disdain and the Simplicity of God 16.03.2016

In both texts that the Liturgy proposes for our meditation today there is an attitude that attracts attention, a human behaviour, but not good spirit: indignation. The people of Nazareth began to listen to Jesus, and they liked how He spoke, but then someone said: "But in which university did you study? This is the son of Mary and Joseph, this was the carpenter! What can He come to tell us?" And the people became disdained. They become indignant (cf. Luke 4:28). And this outrage leads them to violence. And so Jesus who they admired at the beginning of His preaching is driven out, to throw Him down the cliff (cf. v. 29).

Even Naamàn, a good man, and Naamàn was also open to faith, but when the prophet sends someone to him to say that he bathes seven times in the Jordan he becomes indignant. But why? "Here, I thought, of course he will come out and stand there, and he will invoke the name of the Lord his God, he will wave his hand over the sick part and he will take away my leprosy. Surely the Abanà and Parpar, rivers of Damascus, are better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn't I bathe there and cleanse myself? He turned and left angry." With disdain.

Even in Nazareth there were good people; but what is behind these good people that leads them to this indignant behaviour? And in Nazareth it was worse: because of the violence. Both the people of the synagogue of Nazareth and Naamàn thought that God manifested himself only in the extraordinary, in things out of the ordinary; that God could not act in the common things of life, in simplicity. They disdained the simple. They were indignant, they despised simple things. And our God makes us understand that He always acts in simplicity: in simplicity, in the house of Nazareth, in the simplicity of everyday work, in the simplicity of prayer... The simple things. Instead, the worldly spirit leads us towards vanity, towards appearances...

And both end in violence: Naamàn was very educated, but he slams the door in the prophet's face and leaves. Violence, an act of violence. The people of the synagogue begin to get angry, to get heated, and they make the decision to kill Jesus, but unconsciously, and they kick Him out to throw him down. Indignation is an ugly temptation that leads to violence.

They showed me, a few days ago, on a mobile phone, a video of the door of a building that was quarantined. There was one person, a young gentleman, who wanted to go out. And the policeman told him he couldn't. And he punched him, with disdain, with contempt. "But who are you, 'negro', to prevent me from leaving?" It is the indignation of the proud, of the proud ... but with a poverty of spirit that is really awful, of the proud who live only with the illusion of being more than they are. It is a spiritual "illness", people who are indignant: indeed, many times these people need to be indignant, to be indignant to feel like they are someone.

This too can happen to us: "the Pharisaical scandal", the theologians call it, or the scandal of the Pharasees , that is, to scandalize those things such as the simplicity of God, the simplicity of the poor, the simplicity of Christians, as if to say: "But this is not God. No, no. Our God is more cultured, he is wiser, he is more important. God cannot act in this simplicity." And always indignation leads you to violence; both physical violence and verbal violence, which always kills like physical violence.

Let us think of these two passages: the indignation of the people in the synagogue of Nazareth and the indignation of Naamàn, because they did not understand the simplicity of our God.




Pope Francis  29.04.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)    Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter    1 John 1: 5 - 2: 2

Pope Francis Talks about Sin 29.04.20

Today is the feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, Patron of Europe. Let us pray for Europe, for the unity of Europe, for the unity of the European Union: so that together we can move forward as brothers and sisters.

In the first letter of St. John the Apostle there are many contrasts: between light and darkness, between lie and truth, between sin and innocence. But the Apostle always calls us to concreteness, to the truth, and tells us that we cannot be in communion with Jesus and walk in darkness, because He is light. It's either one thing or the other: grey is even worse, because grey makes you believe that you are walking in the light, because you are not in darkness and this reassures you. Grey is very treacherous. Neither one thing nor the other.

The Apostle goes on to say: "If we say we are sinless, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us", because we have all sinned, we are all sinners. And here there is one thing that can deceive us: to say "we are all sinners", as we say "hello", "good morning", a usual thing, even a social thing, and so we do not have a true consciousness of sin. No: I am a sinner because of this, this and this. Concreteness. The concreteness of the truth: the truth is always concrete; Lies are ethereal, they're like air, you can't catch them. The truth is concrete. And you can't go and confess your sins in an abstract way: "Yes, I ... yes, once I lost patience, another ...", and abstract things. "I am a sinner." concreteness: "I did this. I thought this. That's what I said." Concreteness is what makes me feel like a true sinner and not a sinner in the air.

Jesus says in the Gospel: "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the little ones." The concreteness of the little ones. It is beautiful to listen to the little ones when they come to confession: they do not say strange things, in the air; they say concrete things, and sometimes too concrete because they have that simplicity that God gives to the little ones. I always remember a child who once came to tell me that he was sad because he had quarrelled with his aunt. But then he went on. I said, "What did you do?" – "Oh well, I was at home, I wanted to go and play football – he was a child. "But the aunt, mum was not there, says, "No, don't go out: you have to do your homework first." And then he said one word after another. And in the end he told her to go where the pepper grows and because he was a child of great geographical culture, he even called her the name of the place to which he wanted his aunt to be sent! They are like this: simple, concrete.

We too must be simple, concrete: concreteness leads you to humility, because humility is concrete. "We are all sinners" is an abstract thing. No: "I am a sinner for this, this and this", and this makes me ashamed to look at Jesus: "Forgive me". The true attitude of the sinner. And if we say we are sinless, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. This abstract attitude is one way of saying that we are sinless : "Yes, we are sinners, yes, I lost patience once ...", but all in the air. I don't realize the reality of my sins. "But, you know, everybody, we all do these things, I'm sorry, I'm sorry ... it gives me pain, I don't want to do it anymore, I don't want to say it anymore, I don't want to think about it anymore." It is important that we, within ourselves, give names to our sins. Concreteness. Because if we keep them in the air, we will end up in darkness. Let's be like the little ones, who say what they feel, what they think: they have not yet learned the art of saying things a little wrapped up so that they are understood without them saying. This is an art of the big people, which so often does us no good.

Yesterday I received a letter from a boy from Caravaggio. His name is Andrea. And he told me things about him: the letters of boys, of children are beautiful, for their concreteness. And he told me that he had heard Mass on television and that he had to "reprove me" for one thing: that I say "Peace be with you", "and you cannot say this because with the pandemic we cannot touch each other". He doesn't see that you do this with your head and don't touch each other. But the freedom to say things as they are.
We too, with the grace of the Lord, have the freedom to say things as they are: "Lord, I am in sin: help me." Like Peter after the first miraculous catch: "Get away from me, Lord, for I am a sinner." To have this wisdom of concreteness. Because the devil wants us to live in tepidly, lukewarm, in the grey: neither good nor bad, nor white nor black: grey. A life doesn't please the Lord. The Lord doesn't like lukewarm people. Concreteness. Not to be a liar. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just forgives us: he forgives us when we are concrete. Spiritual life is so simple, so simple; but we make it complicated with these nuances, and in the end we never arrive.

Let us ask the Lord for the grace of simplicity and for Him to give us this grace that he gives to the simple, the children, the young people who say what they feel, who do not hide what they feel. Even if it's wrong, but they say it. Even with him, saying things: transparency. And don't live a life that's not one thing or the other. The grace of freedom to say these things and also the grace to know well who we are before God.