Pope Francis spent his homily today reflecting on responding to God’s invitations with the heart and not just the intellect, since this leads to ideologies that falsify the Gospel and weigh down the Church.
“The ideologues falsify the gospel. Every ideological interpretation, wherever it comes from – from (whatever side) – is a falsification of the Gospel,” Pope Francis said April 19 at a Mass he celebrated for employees of the Vatican’s printing press and newspaper.
“And these ideologues, as we have seen in the history of the Church, end up being intellectuals without talent, ethicists without goodness – and let us not so much as mention beauty, of which they understand nothing,” he added.
The Pope based his homily on today’s readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of John.
The first reading, drawn from Acts, recalled the conversion of St. Paul on the Road to Damascus, while the Gospel was about Jesus telling the Jews in Capernaum’s synagogue that they would not have eternal life unless they ate his flesh and drank his blood.
Each time Jesus speaks, the Pope said, his voice “passes through our mind and goes to the heart, for Jesus seeks our conversion.”
The two main characters in the first reading, Paul and Ananias, respond like the great figures in salvation history, such as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Moses and Mary, he noted.
“It is the response of humility, of one who welcomes the Word of God with one’s heart.”
“But the doctors,” like those who heard Jesus speaking in the synagogue, “answered only with their heads. They do not know that the Word of God goes to the heart, (they) do not know of conversion.”
“They are the ones who walk only ‘on the path of duty,’” theirs is the moralistic (outlook) of those who pretend to understand the Gospel with their heads alone,” the Pope explained.
However, he cautioned, they are not “on the road to conversion, that conversion to which Jesus calls us.”
In fact, the moralists “load everything on the shoulders of the faithful. The ideologues falsify the gospel.”
In contrast the Holy Father pointed to “the path of love, the way of the Gospel,” which “is simple” and is “the road that the saints understood.”
Pope Francis finished his homily by encouraging all present to pray for the Church, “that the Lord might free her from any ideological interpretation and open the heart of the Church, our Mother Church, to the simple Gospel, to that pure Gospel that speaks to us of love, which brings love, and is so beautiful!
“It also makes us beautiful, with the beauty of holiness,” he said.