“We are men and women who walk towards a promise,” said the Holy Father.
The Pope said this today during his homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, his last public morning Mass for the summer, the Vatican announced. The pope will pick up again with public Masses in his residence when he returns from his Sept. 6-11 trip to Colombia.
“A Christian does not read the horoscope to foresee the future; a Christian does not consult a fortune teller who looks into a crystal ball or reads your palm,” the pope said, as reported by Vatican Radio. “We are men and women who walk towards a promise, the way Abraham walked towards a new land.”
Today’s first reading, from the 12th chapter of Genesis, recounts God’s order to Abram to “go forth” and his promise that “I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”
Francis drew from the reading to point out three hallmarks of a Christian lifestyle: “renunciation,” “promise,” and “blessing.”
Like Jesus’ renunciation on the cross, being a Christian always implies a dimension of stripping away attachments: There is always a need to “go forth,” the pope said, to “leave your land, your family, your father’s house.”
Christians must a have the capacity to be “stripped and to renounce,” Francis said, otherwise they are not “authentic Christians.”
The pope noted how Abraham obeyed the Lord in faith, and set out for an unknown land to “receive an inheritance.”
Abraham did not build a house; he pitched a tent, indicating that “he was on a journey and trusted God,” the pope said. He built an altar “to worship Him” and then he kept on walking: He was always on the go.
Likewise the journey of a Christian, the pope explained, starts anew every morning, trusting in the Lord and open to his many surprises.
He pointed out that at times these surprises are good, at others bad – “think of an illness or of a death” – he said – but always open because the Christian can say to God, “I know that You will lead me to a safe place, to a land that You have prepared for me.”
Another trait of the Christian is that he or she always carries a blessing. Christians speak well of the Lord and of others, and ask for God’s blessing to go forward on their paths.
This, the pope said, is the pattern of our Christian life because everyone “must bless others, speak well of God and of others.”
Too often, he added, we speak badly of our neighbor, “our tongues wag too much” instead of following the order that God gave to Abraham as a lesson for life:
“That of walking, of letting ourselves be stripped by the Lord, of trusting in his promises and of being blameless,” he said.
“Deep down,” Francis concluded, “Christian life is so simple!”
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