Reflecting on the day’s readings from Isaiah and St John’s Gospel Pope Francis distinguished between three different types of Christians and how they live their spiritual lives. Before God asks anything of us, the Pope said, He always promises us a new life of joy, so the essence of our Christian life is always to journey in hope and trust towards those promises.
But there are many Christians whose hope is weak and while they believe and follow the commandments, they have come to a standstill in their spiritual lives. Pope Francis said God cannot use them as a leaven among his people because they have stopped and they’re no longer moving forward.
Secondly, he said there are those among us who have taken the wrong turning and lost our way. Of course, the Pope continued, we all sometimes take the wrong road, but the real problem arises if we don’t turn back when we realize that we’ve made a mistake.
The model of a true believer who follows the promises of faith, Pope Francis said, is the royal official from today’s Gospel reading, who asks Jesus to heal his son and does not doubt for a second when the Master tells him the child has been cured. But unlike that man, the Pope said, there are many Christians who deceive themselves and wander aimlessly without moving forward.
These people, Pope Francis said are perhaps the most dangerous group because they wander through life like existential tourists without a goal and without taking God’s promises seriously. But the Lord asks us not to stop, not to lose our way and not to wander through life. He asks us to journey on towards his promises like the official who believed what Jesus told him.
Despite our human condition as sinners who take the wrong turning, the Pope concluded, the Lord always gives us grace to turn back. Lent, he said, is a good time to consider whether we are journeying forward or whether we have come to a standstill. If we have chosen the wrong road, we should go to Confession and return to the right way. If we are a theological tourist wandering aimlessly through life, we must ask the Lord for grace to head off again on the journey towards the promises of our faith.
2014-03-31 Vatican Radio