During his Friday morning homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis explained that in order to understand Jesus, people must not have closed hearts.
" Faith is a gift. No one ‘deserves’ faith. No one can buy it. It is a gift. Does ‘my’ faith in Jesus Christ, bring me to humiliation? I do not say humility: humiliation, repentance, prayer.”
The Pope also called on Christians to examine themselves and ask: "How is my faith in Jesus Christ?”
EXTRACTS FROM THE POPE'S HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)
"There were those there who had their hearts closed, but accepted – up to a point – that Jesus was a healer – but forgiving sins is strong! This man is over the top! He has no right to say this, because only God can forgive sins. Only Jesus knew what they were thinking and said: ‘I am God’? - No, He did not say that. [He said,] ?Why are you thinking these things? Because you know that the Son of Man has the power – this is what makes him special [It. è il passo avanti] – to forgive sins: ‘Arise, take up your mat and be healed.’ He begins to speak the language that at some point will discourage people, some of disciples who followed him – for, hard is this language, when he speaks of eating his body as a way of salvation.”
"Faith in Jesus Christ: how is my faith in Jesus Christ? Do I believe that Jesus Christ is God, the Son of God? And has this faith been life-changing? Does my faith make this year of grace begin in my heart, this year of pardon, this year of growing in nearness to the Lord? Faith is a gift. No one ‘deserves’ faith. No one can buy it. It is a gift. Does ‘my’ faith in Jesus Christ, bring me to humiliation? I do not say humility: humiliation, repentance, prayer asking: ‘Forgive me, Lord. You are God. You ‘can’ forgive my sins.”
"Praise: the proof that I believe that Jesus Christ is God in my life, that He was sent to me to ‘forgive me’, is praise; if I have the ability to praise God. Praise the Lord. This is free - praise is gratis. It is a sentiment that the Holy Spirit gives and that brings you to say: ‘You are the only God.’ May the Lord make us grow in faith in Jesus Christ, God, who forgives us, who gives us a year of grace – and this faith leads us to praise.”