Monday, July 08, 2024

Pope at Mass in Trieste: We need the ‘scandal’ of faith

Pope Francis in Trieste: welcoming and ...

What the world needs now is “the scandal of faith,” Pope Francis said during his homily for Mass on Sunday, which he presided in the Italian city of Trieste to mark the conclusion of the 50th Italian Catholic Social Week.

The Holy Father began his reflection by noting that Jesus Himself was rejected by His own countrymen, precisely because of His humanity. They saw only His ordinary life as “the son of Joseph the carpenter,” and could not understand the source of His wisdom and His miracles.

"A strong and powerful God is understandable and attractive," the Pope said. But a God who is weak, even to the point of dying on the Cross; a God who challenges us to life for others, as Jesus did, is "an uncomfortable God" that troubles and scandalizes us.

The scandal of faith

Yet, it is precisely this “scandal of faith” that is needed today, Pope Francis said. “We need a scandal of faith” that is not indifferent to the problems of this world, but that is rooted in the Incarnation, a faith “that enters history, touches people’s lives, and becomes a leaven of hope and a seed for a new world.”

Pope Francis insisted that God is found precisely “in the dark corners of our lives and of our cities,” and among “the least, the forgotten, the discarded.”

All too often, he said, we are scandalized by little things, when instead we should be outraged “in the face of rampant evil, of life being humiliated,” scandalized by the plight of migrants and prisoners.

Scandalized by the evils of this world

Like Jesus – who, despite being rejected and even tried and executed, “remained faithful to His mission” – we Christians are also called to be prophets and witnesses to the Kingdom of God, in whatever place or situation we find ourselves.

“Let us not be scandalized by Jesus but, on the contrary, let us be indignant at all those situations where life is degraded, wounded, and killed.”

“Let us not be scandalized by Jesus; but, on the contrary, let us be indignant at all those situations where life is degraded, wounded, and killed,” the Pope pleaded. “Let us bring the prophecy of the Gospel into our flesh, by our choices even before our words.”

In a special appeal to the Church in Trieste, Pope Francis called on the faithful, “Strive ahead! Continue to be on the front line to spread the Gospel of hope, especially towards those arriving from the Balkan route and towards all those who, in body or spirit, need to be encouraged and comforted.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily with an appeal to everyone to commit to work together, in the realization that we are all loved by God the Father, in order to live as brothers and sisters to everyone.