As he began Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Easter Tuesday, Pope Francis prayed that God might give us the grace of unity.
“In these difficult times, may He allow us to discover the communion that binds us and the unity which is always greater than any division.”
In his homily, the Pope turned his attention to Peter’s invitation to conversion on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:36-41). Peter tells the people gathered in Jerusalem to repent and return to God.
“To repent means returning to faithfulness,” said Pope Francis. “There are always illusions that attract our attention, and often we follow after these illusions.” But, he said, we are called to be faithful “in good times and in bad.”
The Pope then recalled an episode from the 12th Chapter of the Second Book of Chronicles.
Rehoboam, the first king of Judah, felt that his kingdom was secure. So, he “abandoned the law of the Lord, and so did all Israel with him” (2 Chr 12:1).
Pope Francis said this was a historical event, which also holds universal value.
“Many times when we feel secure we begin to make plans and we slowly drift away from the Lord. We don’t remain faithful. My security is no longer that which the Lord gives me. It is an idol. This is what happened to Rehoboam and the people of Israel. He felt secure – a consolidated kingdom – and abandoned the law and began to worship idols.”
Pope Francis said we might object that we have never knelt before idols ourselves. “No,” he said, “perhaps you don’t kneel but it’s true that you seek them and often adore idols in your heart. Self-assuredness opens the door to idols.”
Feeling secure is not a bad thing, said Pope Francis. “It is a grace: being secure in the knowledge that the Lord is with me.”
Rather, security becomes a crutch and leads to sin when I put myself at the center and stop being faithful.
“The whole history of Israel, and the whole history of the Church, is full of infidelity. It is full of egotistical behavior and self-assuredness that leads the people of God to abandon the Lord… Even among us, between people, faithfulness is not a virtue that is highly valued.”
Pope Francis said Mary Magdalene provides the key to understanding fidelity, as she waited and wept outside Jesus’ tomb (Jn 21:11-18).
“An icon of fidelity: that faithful woman who had not forgotten all that the Lord had done for her. She was there, faithful before the impossible – a tragedy. Hers is a faithfulness that led her to think she could carry away His body.”
Finally, Pope Francis invited us to pray for the grace to be faithful.
“Today let us ask the Lord for the grace of faithfulness, and to thank Him when He gives us security… the grace to be faithful even before the tomb and the collapse of so many illusions.”