Pope Francis at Santa Marta: A weak heart is a defeated heart
Published on Feb 8, 2018
Comparing the lives of David and Solomon, Pope Francis on February 8, 2018, explained that a sinner may become a saint, but not the corrupt, who suffer from weakness of the heart.
His comments came during his homily at Mass at Casa Santa Marta and were reported by Vatican News.
The Pope reminded the congregation that everyone is at risk to have weakness of the heart. Citing the day’s reading from the First Book of Kings, he said that is what befell Solomon.
“We have heard about something a bit strange,” the Pope said. “The heart of Solomon was not entirely with the Lord, his God, as the heart of David, his father, had been.”
As a result, Solomon –despite great wisdom and achievement – lost the Lord’s favor. David, despite his failings, retained the Lord’ favor.
While we don’t know if Solomon committed terrible sins, we know that he became “tranquil in his corruption” and disobedient to the Lord, according to Francis. On the other hand, David committed great sins but went on to become a saint; he remained close to the Lord.
The Holy Father called it a great paradox: “The clarity of a sin is better than weakness of the heart…The great king Solomon wound up corrupted: tranquilly corrupt, because his heart was weakened”:
“Brief,” “brief,” “not more than ten minutes, stressed Pope Francis in regard to the “service’ that the homily constitutes, so that the Word of God, heard during the liturgy, passes from the ear to the heart and to the hands and makes one act in keeping with the Gospel. However, for this to be the case a well-disposed assembly is necessary, which is prepared by familiarity with the Word of God.
During the Audience on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father continued his catecheses on the Mass with a catechesis on listening to the Word of God and the homily.
“Brothers and sisters, as the Mysteries of Christ shed light on all the biblical revelation, so in the Liturgy of the Word the Gospel is the light that enables us to understand the meaning of the biblical texts that preceded it,” explained the Pontiff in regard to the Liturgy of the Word.
The Pope highlighted the liturgical signs that reflect the assembly’s preparation to listen to Christ “Himself,” who speaks during the reading of the Gospel: “For this reason, the reading of the Gospel is done by an ordained minister and is accompanied by several signs that reflect the assembly’s recognition of Christ’s presence. The Gospel is proclaimed to become conscious of what Jesus said and did once and what He continues to say to us and to accomplish for us.”
The Pope also invited ordained ministers – deacons, priests and Bishops – not to give a homily that is longer than ten minutes: a “brief” homily, he said several times. Otherwise, there are those that “go to smoke outside” during the homily, said the Pontiff, unleashing laughter: this “is true!” exclaimed the Holy Father.
The Pope observed that the listening of the Word passes by the ear, descends into the heart and reaches the hands, making one act: “To transmit His message, Christ also makes use of the priest’s word in the homily, which is “a taking up again of that dialogue already engaged in between the Lord and His people,” so that the Word of the Lord can take flesh in us and be translated into actions.
The Pope spoke of the homily as a “service”: “It’s the service that he who gives the homily must offer all those that take part in the Mass.”
He also emphasized the dispositions of the assembly during the homily, without “prejudices,” which are an “obstacle.” “However, the faithful that listen must also adopt the right interior dispositions and manifest, in an appropriate way, the attempts of the community to help the priest to carry out his ministry well.”
And among these dispositions, the Holy Father recommended familiarity with the Word of God. “And, in any case, the habitual reading of the Gospel and of the Bible fosters participation in the Liturgy of the Word.”