Is God a delusion



Library in the Apostolic Palace
Sunday January 24th 2021



Dear brothers and sisters, good afternoon!

The passage from the Gospel of this Sunday (cf. Mk 1: 14-20) shows us, as it were, the "change of baton" from John the Baptist to Jesus. John was his pioneer, he prepared the ground and smoothed the way for him: Now Jesus can take up his mission and proclaim the salvation that is now present; He was salvation. His preaching can be summed up in these words: “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel ”(v. 15). Very easily. Jesus spoke straightforwardly. It is a message that invites us to ponder two fundamental issues: the time and the Repentance.

In this text by the Evangelist Mark is the time to be understood as the duration of the history of salvation wrought by God. The "fulfilled" time is the one in which this saving work reaches its climax, its full realization: it is the historical moment when God sent his Son into the world and his kingdom "came closer" more than ever. The time of salvation is fulfilled because Jesus has come. However, salvation does not come automatically; Salvation is a gift of love and is offered to human freedom as such. Whenever we speak of love, we speak of freedom: love without freedom is not love; it can be interest, it can be fear and much more, but love is always free, and since it is free it requires a free answer: it requires ours Repentance. So it is a matter of changing our mentality - there is repentance, changing our mentality - and changing our lives: no longer to follow the examples of the world, but the example of God, who is Jesus; To follow Jesus as Jesus did and as Jesus taught us. It's a crucial change in perspective and attitude. In fact, sin, especially the sin of worldliness, is like air, it permeates everything, and it has given rise to a mentality that tends to assert itself against others and also against God. This is strange ... what is your identity? And we often hear that one expresses one's own identity in terms of “opposites”. It is difficult to express one's identity in the spirit of the world in positive terms, in terms of salvation: it is directed against oneself, against others and against God. And to that end, it does not shrink from - the mindset of sin, the mindset of the world - to use deception and violence. Deception and violence. Let's see what happens to deception and violence: greed, striving for power and not striving to serve, wars, exploitation of people ... This is the mentality of deception, which certainly has its origin in the father of deception, the great liar, the devil, Has. Jesus defines him as the father of lies.

All this stands in opposition to the message of Jesus, who invites us to recognize ourselves in our need for God and his grace; to take a balanced attitude towards earthly goods; to be welcoming and humble to everyone; to recognize and realize ourselves in the encounter and in the service of others. The time in which we can receive salvation is short for each of us: it corresponds to the length of our life in this world. It is short. Perhaps it seems long ... I remember going to a very good, very old man to give him the sacraments, the anointing of the sick, and at that moment, before he received the Eucharist and the anointing of the sick, he accepted this sentence to me: "My life passed by in a flash", as if he wanted to say: I believed that it would take forever, but ... "my life passed by in a flash". So we, the older ones, have the feeling that life has passed by in a flash. It flies there. And life is a gift of God's infinite love, but it is also a time to test our love for him. Therefore every moment, every moment of our existence is a precious time to love God and to love our neighbor and thus to enter into eternal life.

The history of our life follows two kinds of rhythms: one, measurable, consists of hours, days, years; the other consists of the seasons of our development: birth, childhood, youth, maturity, old age, death. Each time, each phase has its own value and can be a privileged moment to meet the Lord. Faith helps us discover the spiritual meaning of these times: each of them contains a special call from the Lord to which we can respond positively or negatively. In the Gospel we see how Simon, Andrew, James and John reacted: they were mature men, they had their job as fishermen, they had a family life ... but when Jesus came by and called them, “they immediately left their nets and followed him to" (Mk 1,18).

Dear brothers and sisters, let us pay attention and not let Jesus go by without receiving him. St. Augustine said: "I am afraid of God when he passes by." Afraid of what? Not recognizing him, not seeing him, not welcoming him.

May the Virgin Mary help us to live every day, every moment as a time of salvation in which the Lord passes and calls us to follow him, each according to his own life. And help us to turn from the world mentality, which consists of the world’s phantasies, which are only fireworks, to that of love and service.

After the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father said:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today's Sunday is dedicated to the Word of God. One of the great gifts of our time is the rediscovery of Scripture in the life of the Church at all levels. The Bible has never been as accessible to everyone as it is today: in all languages ​​and now also in audiovisual and digital formats. Saint Jerome, whose 1600th anniversary I recently commemorated, says that whoever does not know the Scriptures does not know Christ (cf. In Isaiam Prol.). Conversely, it is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, who died and rose again, who opens our minds to the understanding of Scripture (cf. Lk 24.45). This occurs mainly in the liturgy, but also when we pray alone or in groups, especially with the words of the Gospel and the Psalms. My thanks and encouragement go to the parishes for their relentless efforts to teach people to listen to God's word. May we never lack the joy of sharing the gospel! And I would like to say again: We should make it a habit, please make it a habit to always carry a little gospel in your jacket pocket so that we can read it during the day, at least three or four verses . Always carry the gospel with us.

Last January 20th, a 46-year-old Nigerian homeless man named Edwin was found just meters from St. Peter's Square, who had died of the cold. His story joins that of many other homeless people who have recently died in Rome under the same dramatic circumstances. Let's pray for Edwin. May we remember the words of St. Gregory the Great, who, faced with the cold death of a beggar, said that masses should not be celebrated that day because it was like Good Friday. Let's think of Edwin. Let us think of how this man, 46 years old, felt in the cold, unnoticed, abandoned by everyone, including us. Let's pray for him.

Tomorrow afternoon we will celebrate Vespers for the feast of the conversion of St. Paul the Apostle in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls at the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, together with representatives of the other churches and ecclesial communities. I invite you to join our prayer in a spiritual way.

Today is also the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists. Yesterday the message for World Social Communications Day was released, entitled “Come and see. Communicate by meeting people where and how they are «. I urge all journalists and those involved in communication to "come and see", even where no one wants to go, and to bear testimony of the truth.

My greetings go to all of you who talk about the media connected. My thoughts and prayers go to the families who are struggling the most at this time. Take heart, let's go forward! Let us pray for these families and let us stand by them wherever possible. And I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good meal and goodbye!