MANILA, Nov. 30, 2014 — Human nature dictates the preference for the spectacular over the simple, but the Pope reminds us that this should be not be the case when it comes to the Kingdom of God, which must be accepted without vanity.
“When Jesus explained in the parables what the Kingdom of God was like, He used calm, peaceful words (using an imagery to show) that the Kingdom of God was hidden,” the Supreme Pontiff said during a morning meditation at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on Nov. 13, urging the faithful not to give in to the temptations of extravagance and live simply instead.
Growing in silence
“The Kingdom of God is always in silence, but also in struggle…[It] will grow like wheat, not surrounded by things of beauty but in the midst of weeds,” the Holy Father said, noting that despite the Kingdom’s strong presence, it doesn’t attract attention for it grows slowly and silently.
Discussing the day’s Gospel (Luke 17:20-25), the Supreme Pontiff noted that the “kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
With the desire for spectacle being one of the temptations faced by God in the desert, the Holy Father said that it is a person’s willingness that makes God’s kingdom flourish all the more.
“The Kingdom of God is silent, it grows within; the Holy Spirit makes it grow with our willingness, in our soil, which we must prepare,” he said. “I think about how many Christians prefer a spectacle to the silence of the Kingdom of God.”
Examination of conscience
Pope Francis urged the faithful to examine their conscience to avoid falling into the temptation of the spectacle.
According to him, this can be done by asking simple questions that affirm one’s belief in Jesus Christ, Christianity, the sacraments, and the Lord’s coming.
“Why don’t you go adore Him, why don’t you go to Mass, why don’t you take Communion, why don’t you draw near to the Lord [so that his Kingdom may grow within you]?” the Pontiff said.
“The Lord never said the Kingdom of God is a spectacle…It is a celebration, but it’s different! It’s a beautiful celebration, a grand feast. And Heaven will feast, but not a spectacle,” he added.
He warned the faithful from falling into the temptation of spectacle, noting certain instances wherein they celebrate sacraments in an extravagant and grandiose manner, totally forgetting the essence of the sacrament they celebrate and just focusing on the pageantry and vanity it conveys.
“[We have to ask ourselves whether these people] have come to receive a sacrament, to have a feast like at Cana in Galilee, or have they come to have a pageant, to be looked at, for vanity?” he said. “There is thus a continuous temptation: not to accept that the Kingdom of God is silent.” (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCPNews)