Pope Francis warned Christian believers against suggestions of strict religiosity that depart from the message of Christ: “Be careful in the face of the inertia they propose to you! Because behind every inertia is something wrong, there is no spirit of God.”
During this Wednesday’s public interview, September 1, which he presided over from the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, the Holy Father warned that the problems the Galatians faced in the time of Saint Paul, derive from the temptation to leave the way. Welcoming the Gospel “it can be repeated. Indeed, we have seen that this has been repeated in history”.
These temptations, in particular, will be, essentially, to be “falling into formalities, which is one of the temptations that leads you to hypocrisy. Falling into formalities and denying the new dignity they have acquired.”
The Pope drew attention to the fact that “the terms with which the apostle addresses the Galatians are not polite. In other letters it is easy to find the expression “brothers” or “dearest”, not here. He generally says “Galatians” and calls them twice “fool”, which is not A polite term. He does it not because they are not smart, but because, almost without realizing it, they risk losing faith in Christ which they so enthusiastically embraced.”
The Pope explained that this danger to which the Galatians allowed themselves to be drawn into is the cause of St. Paul’s anger, and this is reflected in the tone of the letter.
The Galatians are “fools because they do not realize that the danger lies in losing the precious treasure, the beauty of Christ’s newness.”
The wonder and sadness of the Prophet are clear. Not without bitterness, he provokes these Christians to remember the first declaration he made, by which he offered them the possibility of obtaining a freedom hitherto unexpected.”
In his letter to the Galatian community, Paul tries “to put Christians in a quandary so that they will realize what is at stake and not allow themselves to be charmed by the sound of sirens who want to lead them to religiosity. It is based only on strict observance of principles.”
Because “those new missionaries who got there, in Galatia, convinced them that they should go back and follow the teachings that were adhered to and that led to perfection before the coming of Christ, which is the reward of salvation.”
On the other hand, the Galatians “understood well what the apostle was referring to. Certainly, they experienced the work of the Holy Spirit in the congregation: as in the other churches, love and various gifts also appeared among them.”
“Put in a quandary, they must necessarily answer that what they experienced was the fruits of the newness of the spirit. Therefore, in the beginning of his coming to faith, it was the initiative of God, not the initiative of men. The Holy Spirit was the hero of his experience. Putting it now in the background to prioritize one’s actions would be From foolishness. Holiness comes from the Holy Spirit. It is free from the redemption of Jesus. This justifies us.”
The Pope pointed out that the danger that St. Paul warned the Galatians about is the same that could happen today.
“Also, always in history, and also today, things happen similar to what happened to the Galatians. Today also, the one who says to us: ‘No, holiness is in these teachings, in these things … you must do this and this’ comes to warm our ears, And they put us before a rigid religion that robs us of our freedom in the spirit that gives us the redemption of Christ.”
The Holy Father stressed that the letter to the Galatians “will help us not to listen to these slightly fundamentalist propositions that lead us to retreat in our spiritual life, and to try to advance in the paschal calling of Jesus.”
The Pope concluded his speech by reminding that “God is always close to us. With your kindness. It is like a father who goes up to the roof every day to see if the Son will return. The love of the Father never tires of us. Let us ask wisdom to always be aware of this fact and drive out the fundamentalists who suggest a life From artificial lights, far from the resurrection of Christ. Light is necessary but wise light, not artificial light.”
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