(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday warned Christians against the temptation of a show or entertainment religion that constantly seeks novelty and revelations, comparing it to fireworks that provide us with a fleeting brightness before dying. His comments came during his Mass celebrated on Thursday morning at the Santa Marta residence.
The Pope’s reflections during his homily were inspired by the day’s reading about Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees’ question on when the Kingdom of God would come and he stressed how Christians must guard hope every day whilst waiting for the fullness of the Kingdom. Noting that Jesus told the Pharisees “the Kingdom of God is among you,” Pope Francis compared it to a small seed that is planted and grows on its own over time. He explained that God helps this seed to grow but without drawing attention to it.
“The Kingdom of God is not a ‘show’ religion: one that is always seeking new things, revelations, messages … God spoke through Jesus Christ: this is the last Word of God. The other one is like fireworks that lit you up for a moment and then what is left behind? Nothing. There is no growth, there is no light, there’s nothing: just an instant. And we have been tempted many times by this entertainment religion of seeking things that are extraneous to the revelation, to the meekness of the Kingdom of God that is among us and which grows. For this is not about hope, this is about the desire to have something in our hands. Our salvation comes from hope, the hope of a man who sows the seed or the woman who makes the bread, mixing yeast and flour: a hope that grows. Instead, this artificial brightness only lasts an instant and then it dies away, like fireworks: they are not needed for giving light to a house. It’s just a show.”
Asking what we should do whilst awaiting the fullness of the Kingdom of God, Pope Francis explained that we must guard and take care of our hope.
“Guard it with patience. Patience in our work, in our sufferings… Guarding it like the man who has planted a seed and who takes care of the plant, ensuring there are no weeds close to it, so it will grow. Guard our hope. And here is the question that I put to you: if the Kingdom of God is among us today, if all of us have this seed inside us, if we have the Holy Spirit there, how do I guard it? How do I discern this, how can I discern the good plant from the seed of the darnel? The Kingdom of God grows and what must we do? Guard it. Grow through hope and guard that hope. Because we have been saved through hope. And this is the thread: hope is the thread in the history of salvation. Our hope of meeting the Lord for sure.”
In conclusion, the Pope went on to describe how the Kingdom of God becomes strong through hope.
“Let us ask ourselves: Do I have hope? Or do I go ahead as best I can without knowing how to tell the good from the bad, the darnel seed, the light, the meek light of the Holy Spirit from the brightness of this artificial thing? Let us ask ourselves about our hope in this seed that is growing inside us and on how to guard our hope. The Kingdom of God is among us but we must, through rest, work, discernment, guard the hope of this Kingdom of God that grows until the time when the Lord will come and everything will be transformed. In a brief moment: everything! The world, us, everything. And as Paul said to the Christians of Thessalonica, ‘we shall be with the Lord for ever.’”