VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God, who created the world, continues to work in it, surprising people and making some of them nervous, Pope Francis said.
The phrase “it’s always been done this way” reflects an attitude that “kills,” the pope said May 8 at his early morning Mass. “This kills freedom. It kills joy. It kills fidelity to the Holy Spirit, who always is at work, leading the church.”
In his homily during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis concentrated on the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, which recounts the heated debate in the early Christian community about Peter entering the homes of pagans, sharing the Gospel with them and baptizing them.
Peter is courageous, the pope said. “He was able to accept God’s surprise” and to move in a new direction under the guidance of the Holy Spirit while other members of the community “certainly were afraid of this novelty.”
“The Spirit is a gift of God, of this God our father who always surprises us,” the pope said. Because God is a living God, one who dwells with his people and moves their hearts and keeps the church going through time, “he always surprises us. And so, just as he had the creativity to make the world, he has the creativity to make new things each day. God surprises us.”
Like the reaction to St. Peter, though, some members of the community will claim that following the promptings of the Spirit are “a scandal,” the pope said. Resistance to the Holy Spirit often takes the form of “No. It’s always been done this way and it must be done this way. Don’t bring us these novelties, Peter, calm down, take a pill to calm your nerves.”
Of course, the pope said, it is possible that a new idea or way of doing things comes from “the spirit of the world or the spirit of the devil” and not from God. In response, the church must ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of wise discernment.
“The faith never changes,” the pope said. “But it is in motion, it grows and spreads.”
Christians need to ask for “the grace of discernment so they do not take the wrong path or fall into immobility, rigidity or a heart that is closed” to God’s surprises, he said.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing 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