VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God made people free so they can fearlessly adapt to the changing times while remaining true to Christ, Pope Francis said in his morning homily.
“Times change and we Christians have to continuously change. We have to change firm in faith in Jesus Christ, firm in the truth of the Gospel,” he said at Mass celebrated in the chapel of his residence Oct. 23.
God’s gift of freedom means people must not be afraid to use it. Otherwise, they risk just going along with the crowd or doing nothing, he said.
People shouldn’t bend to external influence and pressure with excuses like: “‘They told me … I heard … People say … I read …’ That way we are on the safe side. But what is the truth? What is the message the Lord wants to give me with this sign of the times?”
God wants people to observe and evaluate what changes are unfolding in the world, the pope said, and to change with them without letting go of Christ.
It’s not easy to know what God wants when there is so much outside influence, he said, which is why silence and prayer are essential.
“We have to open ourselves up to the power of the Spirit and understand well what is happening inside of us and outside of us” through discernment, he said.
“In order to understand the signs of the times, first of all silence is necessary: be quiet and observe. And then reflect,” he said.
The pope said reading the signs of the times isn’t a skill exclusive to “a cultural elite,” but a gift of freedom God gives to everyone.
“Remember, Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Look at how the academics do it, look at how the doctors do it, look how the intellectuals do it.'”
Rather, Jesus talks about how harvesters, in their simplicity, know how to distinguish wheat from the weeds, he said.
“We are free because of the gift of freedom that Jesus Christ gave us. But our job is to look at what happens inside of us, discern our feelings, our thoughts; and what happens outside of us and discern the signs of the times with silence, with reflection and with prayer,” he said.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103