What a great celebration we have in the Catholic Church today!
Pope Francis canonized seven saints today: Pope Paul VI, Oscar Romero, Vincent Romano, Francesco Spinelli, Nunzio Sulprizio, Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa, and María Catalina Kasper.
As we contemplate on the incredibly holy lives of these saints, Pope Francis offered a wonderful meditation during the canonization Mass on how we can become saints and live the joy of the Gospel.
He quoted today’s Gospel and said, “‘What must I do to have eternal life?”‘
Pope Francis’ answer to this question:
“Jesus’ answer catches him off-guard. The Lord looks upon him and loves him.
Jesus changes the perspective from commandments observed in order to obtain a reward, to a free and total love. That man was speaking in terms of supply and demand.
Jesus proposes to him a story of love.
He asks him to pass from the observance of laws, to the gift of self. From doing for oneself to being with God.
The Lord suggests to the man a life that cuts to the quick: ‘Sell what you have and give to the poor and come follow me.’
To you too, Jesus says, ‘Come, follow me.” Come, do not stand still because it’s not enough not to do evil in order to be with Jesus.’
Follow me, do not walk behind Jesus only when you want to, but seek him out every day.
Do not be content to keep the commandments, to give a little alms, say a few prayers. Find in him the God who always loves you.
Seek in Jesus the God who is the meaning of your life. The God who gives you the strength to give of yourself.
Again, Jesus says, “Sell what you have and give to the poor.”
The Lord does not discuss theories of poverty and wealth, but goes directly to life.
He asks you to leave behind what weighs down your heart, to empty yourself of goods in order to make room for him, the only good.
We cannot truly follow Jesus when we are laden down with things.
Because if our hearts are crowded with goods, there will not be room for the Lord, who will become just one “thing” among the others.
For this reason, wealth is dangerous, and Jesus says, even makes one’s salvation difficult.
Not because God is strict, no, the problem is on our part–our having too much—our wanting too much suffocates our hearts and makes us incapable of loving.
Therefore, Saint Paul writes, that the love of money is the root of all evils. We see this, where money is at the center, there is no room for God nor man.
Jesus is radical—he gives all and he asks all. He gives a love that is total and asks for an undivided heart.
Even today, he gives himself as the living bread. Can we give him crumbs in exchange?
We cannot respond to him who made himself our servant, even going to the cross for us. Only by observing some of the commandments.
We cannot give him, who offers us eternal life, some odd moment of time. God is not content with only a percentage of love.
We cannot love him twenty, or fifty or sixty percent. It’s either all or nothing.
Dear brothers and sisters, our heart is like a magnet. It lets itself be attracted by love, but it can cling to one master only, and it must choose.
Either it will love God or it will love the world’s treasure. Either it will live for love or it will live for itself.
Let us ask ourselves where we are in our story of love with God. Do we content ourselves with a few commandments, or do we follow Jesus as lovers, really prepared to leave behind something for him.
Jesus asks each of us and all of us, as the Church journeying forward.
Are we a Church that only preaches good commandments, or a church that is a spouse that launches herself forward in love for her Lord?
Do we truly follow him, or do we revert to the ways of the world, like that man in the gospel?
In a word, is Jesus enough for us? Or do we look for many worldly securities?
Let us ask for the grace always to leave things behind for love of the Lord.
To leave behind wealth, the yearning for status and power, structures that are no longer adequate for proclaiming the Gospel. Those weights that slow down our mission, the strings that tie us to the world.
Without a leap forward in love, our life and our church become sick from complacency and self-indulgence.
We find joy in some fleeting pleasure, we close ourselves off in useless gossip, we settle ourselves into the monotony of a Christian life without momentum, where a little narcissism covers over the sadness of remaining unfulfilled.
This is how it was for the man, the gospel tells us, went away sorrowful.
He was tied down to regulations of the law, and to his many possessions. He hadn’t given over his heart, even though he had encountered Jesus and received his loving gaze, the man went away sad.
Sadness is the proof of unfulfilled love. The sign of a lukewarm heart.
On the other hand, a heart unburdened by possessions that freely loves the Lord always spreads joy—that joy for which there is so much need today.
Pope St. Paul VI wrote “It is indeed, in the midst of their distress, that our fellow men need to know joy to hear its song.”
Today, Jesus invites us to return to the source of joy, which is the encounter with him. The courageous joy to risk everything to follow him—the satisfaction of leaving something behind in order to embrace his way.”