True Christians have cheerful faces and joy in their eyes…
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis made this observation during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on the readings from yesterday and today.
In yesterday’s, the rich young man wanted to follow the Lord, but his wealth led him to follow money instead. Jesus’ words in this story worry the disciples, as he tells them it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In today’s reading from St Mark’s Gospel, the Pope said, we see Peter asking the Lord what will happen to them as they have given up everything to follow him.
With these in mind, the Holy Father called on faithful to consider the relationship between God and money, and recalling that we cannot serve two masters.
Can’t Serve 2 Masters
The Jesuit Pope repeated the Gospel words: “there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age.”
This, Francis noted, demonstrates that the Lord “is incapable of giving less than everything,”
“When He gives us something, He gives all of himself,” he said.
However, he noted, this means entering into a different way of thinking, a different way of behaving, for Jesus gives everything of Himself, “because the fullness of God is a fullness emptied out on the Cross.”
The gift of God, the Pope insisted, is a fullness which is emptied out. And this is also the Christian’s way of being, he noted, namely “to seek and receive a fullness which is emptied out and to follow on that path, which is not easy.”
How Do We Know If We Are Following This Path… Cheerfulness
“How do we recognize that we are following this path of giving everything in order to receive everything,” Francis asked, reminding that the words of the day’s first reading tell us to “pay homage to the Lord, and do not spare your freewill gifts.
“With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy”. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means.
“A cheerful face and eyes full of joy, the Pope said, these are the signs that we’re following this path of all and nothing, of fullness emptied out.”
Francis recalled that the face of the rich young man, not capable of receiving and welcoming this fullness emptied out, fell and he became very sad, whereas the saints and Peter were able to receive it.
“Amid all their trials and difficulties, they had cheerful faces and hearts full of joy.”
Francis concluded, recalling the Chilean saint Alberto Hurtado who worked with the poor amidst such difficulty, persecution and suffering, yet his words were ’I’m happy, Lord, I’m happy’.
“May he teach us to follow this difficult path of all and nothing, of Christ’s fullness emptied out and to be able to say at all times ’I’m happy, Lord, I’m happy’” he prayed.