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God does not have a magic wand

· Pope Francis' Mass at Santa Marta ·

”Triumphalist fantasies” are “a great temptation in Christian life”. But God “does not act like a fairy with a magic wand”, who can save man in an instant; rather, he pursues a path of perseverance, because “he saves us in time and in history”, on the “journey of every single day”. This was the reflection that the Pope offered during mass that he celebrated on Friday morning, 12 April, in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Among concelebrants were Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi, Mons.  Fabián Pedacchio Leaniz, an official of the Congregation for Bishops, Mons. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti and Fr Giuseppe Costa, President of the Council of Superintendents and Director of the Vatican Publishing House (LEV) -  who at the end of the mass presented the Pontiff with three of the most recent publications containing texts of Bergogliowith the carmelite Edmondo Caruana,  chief editor, and Fr Giuseppe Merola, publishing editor. Among those present were: Ernst con Freyberg and Paolo Cipriani, President of the Council of supervisors and general director of the Institute for Religious Works, members of the Council of  supervisors of the LEV and several employees of the Vatican Pharmacy with their administrative director, Br Rafael Cenizo  Ramírez.

Referring to the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (5:34-42), the Pope called Gamaliel “a wise man”, for “he gives us an example of how God acts in our life. When all the priests, pharisees, and teachers of the law were so nervous, maddened by what the Apostles were doing, and wanted to kill them, he said: but wait yet a while! And remember the stories of Judas the Galilean and of Thaddeus, who in the end managed to do nothing: they said they were Christ, the Messiah, saviours and then they came to nothing. 'Give it time' says Gamaliel”.

“That is wise advice”, explained Pope Francis, “also for our life. For time is the messenger of God: God saves us in time, not in a moment.  Sometimes he does miracles, but in everyday life he saves us through time. At times we think that if the Lord comes into our life, we change. Yes, we do change: it is called conversion. 'I want to follow you, Lord'. But this must make history”. The Lord, therefore, “saves us in history: our personal history. The Lord does not do so like some fairy with a magic wand. No. He gives you the grace and he say, as he said to everyone he healed: 'go, walk'. He says it also to us: 'walk through your life, give witness of all that the Lord has done for us'”.

We also need to resist the temptation to triumphalism. “It is a temptation,” the Pope affirmed, “that also attacked the Apostles”. Triumphalism is “to believe that in one moment everything happened! No, in a moment it began: there is a grace, but we are the ones who  have to journey forward on the path of life”.

There was this temptation after the multiplication of the loaves – as was narrated in the Gospel of John (6:1-5). The people “having seen what he had done, said: 'This man is surely the prophet. But Jesus, knowing that they were coming to make him a king', leaves”. He then is the triumphalism but Jesus rebukes them: “you follow me not to hear my words but because I  fed you”.

“Triumphalism, “ the Pope explained, “is not from the Lord. The Lord entered the world humbly. He lived his life for 30 years, he grew like a normal child, he had the trial of work, as well as the trial of the cross. And then, at the end, he rose again. The Lord teaches us that in life not all is magic, that triumphalism is not Christian”.

This is therefore, he concluded, a matter of “perseverance on the path of the Lord, all the way to the end, every day. I don't mean to start again every day: no, continue on the path. Continue forever. It is a path of difficulty, of work, and of many joys. But it is the path of the Lord”.

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