Pope: ‘Discern well to avoid becoming lukewarm Christians’
Taking his cue from the readings of the day, Pope Francis repeated the scathing admonition of the Book of Revelations against those Christians of the Church of Laodicea “who are neither hot nor cold: I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Beware of the calm which deceives: God is not there
The Lord, Francis said, warns against that calm “without substance” of the lukewarm, calling it “a calm which deceives”.
“But what does a lukewarm person think? The Lord says it here: He thinks he is rich. ‘I have grown rich and have need of nothing. I am calm.’ That calm which deceives. If, in the heart of the Church, of a family, of a community, of a person there is an ever-present calm, God is not there.”
To the lukewarm, the Pope said not to fall asleep in the false belief of needing nothing.
The Lord shows that the lukewarm are naked; their richness comes not from God
Jesus, the Holy Father warned, defines those who believe themselves rich as unhappy and miserable. However, “he did it out of love”, so that they might discover a different richness, that which only the Lord may bestow.
“Not that richness of the soul which you think you possess because you are good, because you do everything well, all is calm. There is another richness – that which comes from God, which always carries its cross, always carries some restlessness of the soul. And I urge you to buy white clothes in which to dress, so that your shameful nakedness is not seen. The lukewarm are not aware they are naked.”
The lukewarm, Pope Francis said, “lose the capacity to contemplate, the capacity to see the great and beautiful things of God”. For this the Lord seeks to awaken us, to help us convert. But, he continued, the Lord is “present in another way: He is there to invite us: ‘Behold, I knock at the door.’” Here the Pope underlines the importance of being able to “hear when the Lord knocks at our door… because He wants to gives us something good.”
Know how to discern when the Lord knocks at our door
Pope Francis went on to say there are Christians who “are not aware when the Lord knocks. For them every noise is the same.” We must “understand well” when the Lord knocks, when He wants to bring us His consolation. The Lord, Francis added, is before us also to invite us to invite Him, which is exactly what happens with Zacchaeus, as the day’s Gospel recounts: “That curiosity of Zacchaeus, who was small, was a seed from the Holy Spirit.”
“The initiative is from the Spirit towards the Lord. He raises His eyes and says: ‘But come; invite me into your house.” The Lord is there… He is always there with love: whether to correct us, to invite us to supper, or to be invited by us. He is there to tell us: ‘Awake’… ‘Open’… ‘Come down’. It is always He. Do I know how to distinguish in my heart when the Lord tells me to awake, to open, or to come down? May the Holy Spirit give us the grace to know how to discern these calls.”
(Devin Sean Watkins)