Our freedom is to walk with God —not with a magician…
(CUSA) – Free will is not freedom. Instead it gives us the autonomy to walk with God.
Independence has political value, but in divine-human relations it is spiritual suicide. —Ed.
HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
When we read the Book of Genesis, there is the danger of thinking that God was a magician who did things with a magic wand.
But it was not so because God made things and allowed them to proceed with internal, interior laws that He gave to each one, so that they could develop and arrive at fullness. The Lord gave autonomy but not independence to the things of the universe.
For God is not a magician, He is the Creator! But when on the sixth day of that story, He comes to create man, He gives him another autonomy, somewhat different, but not independent: an autonomy that is freedom.
He tells the man to go forward in history, He makes man responsible for the creation, so that he would dominate creation, bring it forward and arrive at the fullness of time. And what was the fullness of time? What He had in his heart: the arrival of His Son. Because God – as we heard from Paul – has predestined us, all of us, to be conformed to the image of the Son.
This is the path of humanity, it is mankind’s journey. God wanted us to be like His Son and His Son to be like us. In the genealogy of Jesus, there are saints and sinners, but history continues because God has willed that all men be free.
And even if it is true that when man misused his freedom, God drove him out of Paradise, He also made a promise, so man left Paradise with hope. A sinner, but with hope. Mankind did not make this journey alone: God walks with us.
Because God chose an option: he opted for time, not for the moment. He is the God of time, He is the God of history, He is the God who walks with His children. Until the fullness of time when His Son becomes man. God walks with the righteous and the sinners. He walks with everyone, to arrive at that encounter, the final encounter of man with Him.
The Gospel brings this century-long story to an end in a tiny thing, in a small village with Joseph and Mary. The God of great history is also in that little story there, because He wants to walk with everyone.
St. Thomas stated: “Do not fear the great things, but also have regard for the small, this is divine”. And this is how God is, He is in the great things, but also in the small.”
He is the Lord who walks…and He is the Lord of patience. The patience of God. The patience he has had with all these generations. With all these people who have lived their story of grace and sin, God is patient.
God walks with us, because He wants us all to come to be conformed to the image of His Son. And from the hour that He gave us the freedom in creation – not independence – until today, He continues to walk with us.
And so, therefore, we come to Mary. Today we are in the antechamber of this story: the birth of the Virgin Mary. Let us ask in prayer that the Lord will give us the unity to walk together and peace of heart. This is today’s grace.
Today we can look at Our Lady, the small, holy child without sin, pure and predestined to become the Mother of God and also look at the story that lies behind her, so long, over centuries and ask:
How do I journey in my story?
Do I allow God walk with me?
Do I allow Him walk with me or do I want to walk alone?
Do I let Him caress me, help me, forgive me, carry me forward so that I may arrive at the encounter with Jesus Christ?
This will be the end of our journey: an encounter with the Lord. It would do us all good to ask ourselves this question today. ‘Do I let God be patient with me?’. And so, looking at this great story, and even this small village, we can praise the Lord and humbly ask that He give us peace, that peace of heart that only He can give us, that He only gives us when we let Him walk with us”.