Pope Francis: Do not kill the Word of God

In order not to “kill” the Word of God in our hearts, we […]

In order not to “kill” the Word of God in our hearts, we need to be humble and capable of prayer. Pope Francis pointed out these attitudes in his homily this morning in his homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.

If a Christian is not humble, if he does not pray, he risks taking the Word of God and remaking it in his own liking. To see how to guard against this temptation, Pope Francis looked the Gospel of the day. Jesus recounts the story of the workers in a vineyard, who killed first the servants, and ultimately the son, of the master of the vineyard, with the intention of making themselves masters of his inheritance. This parable, was directed to the Pharisees, the elders of the people, the priests; Jesus, the Pope said, was trying to show them “where they had fallen” by not having their “hearts open to the Word of God”:

“This is the tragedy of these people, and our tragedy too! They have taken over the Word of God. And the Word of God becomes their word, a word according to their interests, their ideologies, their theologies… but in their service. And everyone interprets it according to their own will, according to their own interests. This is the tragedy of this people. And to preserve this, they kill. This happened to Jesus.”

When they heard this parable, the chief priests and the Pharisees understood that Jesus was talking about them – and “they sought to capture Him, and to kill Him.” In this way, the Pope said, “the Word of God dies, is imprisoned, the Holy Spirit is caged in the desires of each of them.” And that is exactly what happens to us, the Pope noted, “when we are not open to the newness of the Word of God, when we are not obedient to the Word of God”:

“But there is a phrase that give us hope. The Word of God died in the hearts of these people; and can die in our heart! But it is not finished, because it is alive in the hearts of the simple, of the humble, of the people of God. They seek to capture it, but they were afraid of the crowds of the people of God. That simple crowd — that followed Jesus because what He said did their hearts good, warmed their hearts — this people wasn’t wrong. They didn’t use the Word of God for their own interests, they listened and sought to be a little bit better.”

And so, Pope Francis asked in conclusion, “what can we do to not kill the Word of God,” to “be docile,” to “not cage the Holy Spirit?” His answer? “Two simple things”:

“This is the attitude of those who will to hear the Word of God: first, humility; second, prayer. This people didn’t pray. They didn’t need to pray. They thought they were safe, they thought they were strong, they thought ‘gods.’ Humility and prayer: with humility and prayer we go forward by listening to the Word of God and obeying it. In the Church. Humility and prayer in the Church. And so, what happened to these people will not happen to us: we should not kill to defend the Word of God, that Word which we believe is the Word of God, but is a word totally altered by us.”




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