In the faith there is no room for categories like “lukewarm”
or “bad or good”. Ours is not a “double life” that seeks to negotiate a
status vivendi with the world. Pope Francis said this in his homily at
morning Mass on Thursday, 11 April, in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae
Marthae. Present at the Mass were administrators and editorial staff of
Among the concelebrants were: Cardinal Telesphore Placidus
Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi, India; Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli,
Bergoglio’s successor as Pastor of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires; Fr
Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage, Undersecretary of the
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Mons. Robinson Edward
Wijesinghe, Office Head of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of
Migrants and Itinerant People; Fr Sergio Pellini, sdb, Director-General of
the Vatican Printing Press and L’Osservatore Romano, Fr Władysław
Gryzło, sj, head of the monthly Polish edition.
In the readings, the Pope said, “the word ‘obey’ appears
three times. What does “obeying God” mean?, the Pontiff asked. “Does it mean
that we must behave like slaves? No, whoever obeys God is free, he is not a
slave! And how can this be? It seems like a contradiction”, but it is not.
In fact, the word “‘obey’ comes from Latin, and means to listen, to hear
others. Obeying God is listening to God, having an open heart to follow the
path that God points out to us. Obedience to God is listening to God and it
sets us free”.
Peter, he went on, was called “to make a decision”. Peter “heard
what the Pharisees and priests said but he listened to what Jesus
was saying in his heart”. In our life, Pope Francis said, “we are often
proposed things that do not come from Jesus, that do not come from God. At
times our weaknesses take us down the wrong road. Or even a more dangerous
road. We make a deal — we go forward with a double life”. Jesus tells us a
little bit about life and the world tells us a little more. This, the Holy
Father said, “is no good. In the Book of Revelation, the Lord says: this is
not good because you are neither good nor evil. You are lukewarm. I condemn
The Pope warned against this temptation. If Peter had chosen
to “find a status vivendi, perhaps everything would have worked out”.
But it would not have been a decision “of love, which comes when we listen
to Jesus”, and the decision to love has consequences. The Holy Father
continued: “what happens when we hear Jesus?”. At times we are persecuted,
he said, remembering all those “who have placed themselves in the fire and
tell us with their lives: ‘I want to obey and to follow the path of Jesus’”.
In choosing to obey God and not the world, in no way giving
in to compromise, the Christian is not alone. “Where can we find help in
finding the way to listen to Jesus?”, the Pope asked. “In the Holy Spirit.
We ourselves are witnesses to this. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who
obey him”. Thus he said: “it is the Holy Spirit inside of us who gives us
the strength to go forward”.