• Italiano

The heart of those who say “it has been always done that way” is closed to the surprises of the Holy Spirit and will never reach to the fullness of truth. Pope Francis said it during the customary morning Mass at St. Martha’s House, broadcasted by Vatican Radio. In the first reading, Saul was rejected by God as king of Israel, because he preferred to listen to the people rather than the will of God and disobeyed. The people, after having obtained victory in a battle, wanted to sacrifice its best cattle to God because, it says, “it has been always done that way.” But the Lord did not want it. The prophet Samuel rebukes Saul: “Does the Lord like burnt offerings and sacrifices as acts of obedience to the voice of the Lord?”. “Jesus teaches us the same in the Gospel – Bergoglio explains – “: law connoisseurs accuse him and his disciples of not fasting as it had been always done in the past. And Jesus answers “with this principle in life”: “No one sews a piece of new cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch deprives the old cloth of something and the hole becomes even worse; and no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and both wine and skins will be lost. But new wine into new wineskins!”

“What does it mean? That the law changes? No! That the law is in the service of Man who is in the service of God, therefore Man must keep his heart open. ‘It has been always done that way’ means  a closed heart and Jesus told us: ‘I will send you the Holy Spirit and He will lead you to full truth’. If your heart is closed to the newness of the Spirit, you will never reach full truth! And your Christian life will be split into halves, a life patched with new things, but based on a structure that is not open to the voice of the Lord. A closed heart, because you are not able to change the skins.”

This – the Pontiff has pointed out – is exactly what “King Saul’s sin and the reason why he was rejected. It is ‘the sin of many Christians who cling to what has always been done and do not allow the skins to be changed. They end up with a half-life, a patched and meaningless existence.” Sin “is a closed heart” that “does not listen to the voice of the Lord, which is not open to the newness of the Lord, to the Spirit that always surprises us.” Rebellion – Samuel says – is “the sin of divination”, stubbornness is idolatry:

“Christians who are stubborn in saying that ‘it has been always done that way’, ‘this is the way, this is the path’, sin: they sin of divination. It is ‘as if they went to a fortuneteller’. What has been said and does not change matters more; what I feel – from me and from my closed heart – matters more than the Word of the Lord’. Obstinacy is also a sin of idolatry: a Christian who insists, sins! (S)he sins of idolatry. ‘And which is the path, Father?’: Open your hearts to the Holy Spirit, to discern what is the will of God.”

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