Pope Francis: The Christian has a big heart that welcomes all

The heart of the Christian is magnanimous because we were born of a loving Father and our arms should be open wide to welcome everyone with generosity – that’s what the pope said at Thursday morning’s Mass at the Santa Marta guesthouse in the Vatican. Among those attending the Mass was a number of priests who celebrated with the pope their 50th year of ordination. 

"The mystery of God is light," says Pope Francis, who comments on the day's Gospel in which Jesus says that the lamp does not come "to be put under a bushel, or under the bed, but to be put on the lampstand to illuminate."

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"And this is one of the traits of a Christian who has received the light in Baptism and must give it. That is, the Christian is a witness. Testimony. One of the peculiarities of Christian behavior. A Christian who brings this light, must show it because he is a witness. When a Christian would prefer not to show the light of God but prefers his own darkness, this enters his heart because he is afraid of the light. And the idols, which are dark, he likes best. So he lacks. He’s missing something and is not a true Christian: witness. A Christian is a witness; of Jesus Christ, the Light of God. He has to put that light on the lampstand of his life."

In the Gospel, Jesus says: "The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you." “Another trait of the Christian,” says the pope, “is magnanimity, because he is the child of a magnanimous father, of great heart."

"The Christian heart is magnanimous. It is open, always. It is not a heart that is closed in on its own selfishness. Or one that’s calculating: up to this point, up to here. When you enter this light of Jesus, when you enter into Jesus’ friendship, when you let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit, the heart becomes open, magnanimous... The Christian, then, does not gain, but loses. But he loses to gain something else, and in this (between quotation marks) 'defeat' of interests, he gains Jesus; he gains by becoming Jesus’ witness.”

Pope Francis then addresses those present who are celebrating 50 years of service in the priesthood:

"For me it is a joy to celebrate with you today, as you mark the 50thanniversary of your priesthood: 50 years on the path of light and giving witness, 50 years of trying to be better, trying to bring light to the lampstand. Sometimes we fall, but we get up again, always with the desire to give light, generously, that is, with a magnanimous heart. Only God and your own memory know how many people you have received generously with the kindness of fathers, of brothers ... to how many people whose heart was a bit 'dark’ have you given light, the light of Jesus. Thank you. Thank you for what you have done in the Church, for the Church and for Jesus."

"May the Lord give you joy, this great joy,” the pope concluded, “of having sown well, of having shown light well and of having opened your arms to receive all with magnanimity."

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