This is pretty clear to me! How about you?
Radio) Only if our hearts are open and we recognize ourselves as
sinners can we receive God’s mercy. That’s the message Pope Francis
imparted to the faithful gathered for the morning Mass Thursday at the
Santa Marta guesthouse, (Vatican Motel Six, and the Pope will leave the lights on!).
Commenting on the First Reading from the Book of Jeremiah, the Pope
stresses in his Homily that "God is always faithful, for he cannot deny
himself" while the people do not listen to His word. Jeremiah therefore
tells us the "many things that God has done to attract the hearts of the
people," but, the Pope adds, the people remain unfaithful.
If the heart is hardened and closed, God’s mercy does not enter
"This unfaithfulness of God's people,” warns the Pope, is “also
ours.” It is “our own infidelity [which] hardens the heart, closes the
"It does not allow [us to hear] the voice of the Lord who, as a
loving father, always asks us to open ourselves to His mercy and His
love. In the Psalms, the Pope adds, we all pray together: 'Hear now the
voice of God. Do not harden your hearts! ' The Lord always speaks with
us in this way, also with the tenderness of a father who says: 'Return
to me with all your heart, for I am compassionate and merciful.’ But
when the heart is hardened, you don’t understand this. God’s mercy can
only be understood when you are able to open your heart to let it enter.
Referring to the passage from Luke’s Gospel where Jesus is confronted
by learned men who had studied the Scriptures, Pope Francis says they
were "teachers of the law who knew theology, but they were very, very
closed" . The crowd, however, "was amazed," and "had faith in Jesus!
Their hearts were open: imperfect, sinful, but open hearts."
Ask forgiveness, do not judge others
But these theologians, adds the Pope, "had a closed attitude! They
always sought an explanation so as not to understand the message of
Jesus." "They asked him for a sign from heaven. Always closed! It was
Jesus who had to justify his actions."
"This is the story, the story of this failed fidelity. The story of
closed hearts, of hearts that do not let in the mercy of God, which have
forgotten the word forgiveness: 'Forgive me Lord!' - simply because
they do not [see themselves as] sinners [but see themselves as] judges
of others. A story lasting centuries.” And Jesus, the Pope continues,
explains this failed fidelity very clearly - to combat the discourse of
such hypocrites: ‘He who is not with me is against me.' “It’s clear! Or
are you faithful, with your heart open to God who is faithful to you,
or you are against Him: 'He who is not with me is against me!'"
Faithfulness to God begins with recognizing our sinfulness
But is there room here for middle ground, for "negotiations?" asks
the Pope. The answer, he says, lies in confessing to being a sinner!
If you acknowledge that you are a sinner, “the heart opens and God’s
mercy is allowed to enter and you begin to be faithful."
"We ask the Lord for the grace of fidelity. And the first step on
this path towards fidelity is to admit you are a sinner,” adds Pope
Francis. “If you do not feel sinful, you have begun badly. We ask for
grace so that our hearts do not harden - that they are open to God's
mercy - and for the grace of faithfulness. And when we find ourselves
unfaithful, for the grace to ask for forgiveness."