(Vatican Radio) Being Christian is a response to the voice of love, to a call to become
children of God. This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ remarks at Mass on Tuesday
morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican.
The Holy Father also spoke of the Christian certainty that God never leaves us alone
and asks us to go forward, even in the midst of difficulties. Listen:
Pope Francis focused his homily on the first reading of the day, from the Book of Genesis, which tells of the discussion between Abram and Lot his cousin for the division of the earth. “When I read this,” he said, “I think of the Middle East and so I ask the Lord [intensely] that He give wisdom to all of us, the wisdom [to say] let’s not fight, [you and I], I from here and you from there... the wisdom for peace.” Abram, the Pope observed, “keeps walking.” He said, “[Abram] had left his land to go he knew not where, but wherever the Lord would tell him.” He kept on walking, then, because he believed in the Word of God, which, “had invited him to go out of his land.” This man, perhaps ninety years old, said the Pope, looked upon the land that the Lord had shown him and believed:
"Abram departed his land [carrying] a promise: his entire journey is a going toward this promise. The way he walked his path is a model for how we [ought to walk our own]. God called Abram, a [single] person, and that one person makes an entire people. If we go to the Book of Genesis, to the beginning, to the creation, we find that God creates the stars, creates the plants, creates the animals, creates the these and the that’s and the others ... But He creates Man in the singular, one. God always speaks in the singular to us, because He has created in his image and likeness. And God speaks in the singular. He spoke to Abram and gave him a promise and invited him to come out of his land. We Christians have been called one-by-one: none of us is Christian by pure chance. No one.”
There is a call, “by name, and with a promise,” the Pope said, “Go ahead, I am with you! I walk beside you.” This, he said, Jesus knew as well: “Even in the most difficult moments He turns to the Father”:
"God accompanies us, God calls us by name, God promises [there will be] a line of heirs. This is something of ‘the surety of the Christian. It is not a coincidence, it is a call - a call that keeps us going. Being a Christian is a call of love, friendship, a call to become a child of God, brother of Jesus, to become fruitful in the transmission of this call to others, to become instruments of this call. There are so many problems, so many problems, there are difficult times, Jesus had many of His own! But always with that confidence: ‘The Lord has called me. The Lord is like me. The Lord has promised me.”
The Lord, he reiterated, "is faithful, for He can never deny Himself: He is faithfulness.” Thinking of the passage in which Abram, “is anointed father, for the first time, the father of peoples,” we also think of ouseveles – we, who have been anointed in Baptism, and we think of our Christian life.”:
"Someone will say, ‘Father, I am a sinner’, but we all are, as everyone knows. The problem is: sinners, go forward with the Lord, go forward with that promise that He has made us, with the promise of fruitfulness, and tell others, recount to others others that the Lord is with us, that the Lord has chosen us and that He does not leave us alone, not ever! That certainty of the Christian will do us good. May the Lord give us, all of us, this desire to move forward, which Abram had, in the midst of all his problems: to go forward with the confidence that He who called me, who promised me so many beautiful things, is with me.”
The Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Pontifical Council cor unum and by the emeritus vicar-general of the Rome diocese, Cardinal Camillo Ruini. It was attended by staff from cor unum as well as of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Vatican Observatory, accompanied by the Observatory’s director, Fr. José Gabriel Funes, SJ.