God is a God of surprises, Pope Francis preaches

Pope Francis greets the faithful at Rome's St. Stanislaus parish, May 4, 2014. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.
Pope Francis greets the faithful at Rome's St. Stanislaus parish, May 4, 2014. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.

.- Speaking of the “God of surprises” in his homily at Mass on Monday, the Holy Father noted the unfortunate inability of the doctors of the law who encountered Christ to receive his message.

“Because these doctors of the law did not understand the signs of the times they asked for an extraordinary sign ((which) Jesus later gave them),” Pope Francis said Oct. 13 during his Mass said at the St. Martha guesthouse chapel in the Vatican. “Why did they not understand? First of all, because they were closed. They were closed in their system.”

“They had perfectly organized the law, a masterpiece. All of the Jews knew what one could do, what one could not do, how far they could go. Everything was organized. And they were safe there.”

The doctors of the law saw Christ's fraternization with sinners and publicans as strange and they considered him dangerous – they considered that the doctrine of the law was in danger.

While they had done this out of love and out of faithfulness to God, they had become closed, the Pope said, forgetting history.

“They forgot that God is the God of Law, but he is (also) the God of surprises.”

On the other hand, God reserved these “surprises” for his people, such as when he delivered them from slavery in Egypt.

“They did not understand that God is the God of surprises, that God is always new: he never contradicts himself, never says that what he had said was wrong, ever, but he always surprises us. And they did not understand, and closed themselves in this system created with the best of intentions.”

Pope Francis said, “they did not understand the many signs which Jesus did, and which demonstrated that the time was ripe. Closed! Second, they forgot that they were a people on a journey. On a journey! And when we set out on a journey, when we are on a path, we always discover new things, things which we did not know.”

The Pope added that the journey “is not absolute in itself (but rather it is) the path toward the definitive manifestation of the Lord.”

“Life is a journey toward the fulness of Jesus Christ,” when he comes again. This generation “searches for a sign,” but the Lord says the only sign that will be given will be the “sign of Jonah,” the "sign of the resurrection, of glory,” and the “eschatology toward which we are moving.”

These doctors were closed, not open to the God of surprises, Pope Francis said. "(They) understood neither the journey nor this eschatology.”

When Christ declared himself to be the Son of God before the Sanhedrin “they tore their robes,” scandalized by what they perceived was blasphemy.

“The sign which Jesus gave to them,” he continued, “was a blasphemy.” For this reason, Christ called them the evil generation.

They themselves “did not understand that the law which they protected and loved,” was a pedagogy towards Christ.

“If the law does not bring Jesus Christ,” he said, nor “bring us closer to him, it is dead.”

The Holy Father presented the following as food for thought: “I am attached to my things, my ideas” – does this mean I am “closed?” Or, he continued, “am I open to the God of surprises? Am I a person who stands still, or a person on a journey?”

“Do I believe that the story ends with Jesus Christ's death and resurrection?”

Or, the Pope offered, “do I believe that the journey moves forward toward maturity, toward the manifestation of God's glory? Am I capable of understanding the signs of the times and of being faithful to the Lord's voice which is made manifest in them?”

Pope Francis said that today we ought to ask these questions, and ask the Lord for a heart that loves the love, because the law is of God. However, he continued, we should ask for a heart “which also loves God's surprises, and the ability to understand that this law is not an end in and of itself.”

It is this journey, a pedagogy, “which leads us to Jesus Christ, to the definitive encounter where there will be this great sign of the Son of Man.”

Tags: Catholic News, Pope Francis, Pope Francis homilies

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