VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Conversion to Christ is a process that lasts a lifetime, but the process stalls in the face of fear or self-satisfaction, Pope Francis said.
“We feel safe with what we can control,” the pope said Nov. 20 at his early morning Mass. “We all have fear, not of happiness — no — but of the joy the Lord brings, because we cannot control it.
“We are afraid of conversion, because to convert means to let the Lord lead us,” he said at the Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
The day’s Gospel reading from the Gospel of St. Luke describes Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, which “did not recognize the one who would bring it peace,” the pope said, according to Vatican Radio. The Lord wept for the “closed heart” of the holy city, symbol of God’s chosen people.
“They didn’t have time to open the door. They were too busy, too self-satisfied,” the pope said. Jerusalem in the Gospel was “afraid of being saved along the road by the surprises of the Lord. It was afraid of the Lord, the groom, the beloved. And so Jesus wept.”
“Jerusalem was tranquil and content. The temple functioned. The priests offered sacrifices; people came on pilgrimage; the doctors of the law had everything well ordered, everything! All of the commandments were clear,” he said. “And with all of this, Jerusalem had closed its doors.”
Still today, he said, Jesus continues knocking at the door of people’s hearts and “the doors of his church.”
“I ask myself: Today we Christians who know the faith and the catechism, who go to Mass every Sunday — are we Christians, we pastors content with ourselves?” he asked. Do we think “we have everything just right and we don’t need any more visits from the Lord?”
If Christians, including priests, do not open the doors of their hearts to the Lord each day, he said, “the Lord weeps, still today.”