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One cannot buy the gifts of the Lord

Tuesday, 21 January 2020



Taking his cue from the day’s First Reading which narrates David’s election as King of Israel, at the homily for Mass at Santa Marta on Tuesday, 21 January, Pope Francis highlighted the free nature of God’s gifts. Out of all the sons of Jesse of Bethlehem, the Lord sends Samuel to anoint David, “the most limited, the one who had no titles” and who had not even fought in the war. This story, the Pope said, should prompt us to reflect on why the Lord chose a normal boy to be anointed.

This is because the Lord’s gifts are free, he explained. “Being Christian, being baptized, being ordained priests and bishops is pure gratuitousness. You cannot buy the Lord’s gifts”. Christian holiness, he said, means “to preserve the Lord’s gift”. As he compared the gifts of the anointment of David and the anointment of priests and bishops, the Holy Father took the opportunity to criticize the attitude of “those who want to go ahead in the so-called ecclesiastical careers, who behave in a simonical way, seeking influences, becoming climbers”, thus being unchristian. To be anointed a bishop is a gift, he stressed. “If we priests forget our flock, if we bishops forget this and feel more important than others, we deny God’s gift”. He urged Christians to live with humility, guarding God’s gift of having chosen us and warned against forgetting the People of God. The Holy Father concluded the homily by asking the Lord for the “grace to give thanks for the great and beautiful gift he has given us and to preserve it with faithfulness”.

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