February 10, 2015
If you are looking for God you won’t find him sitting on a comfortable couch flicking through a magazine, or sitting at your computer. The search for God means having the courage to set out on a risky path, it means following our restless hearts, said Pope Francis at Mass Tuesday morning at Casa Santa Marta.
The Restless Will See God
Pope Francis began his reflections drawing on the reading from Genesis that speaks of man's creation "in the image of God." He spoke of the right and wrong paths that a Christian can take in search of his origins and identity. Pope Francis noted that we certainly cannot find the image of God “on a computer, or in encyclopedias.” Instead, there is only one way to find it and to “understand our own identity” that is to “set out on a journey.” Otherwise, said Pope Francis, “we will never know the face of God”:
"Those who never set out on this journey, will never know the image of God, will never find the face of God. Sedentary Christians, lethargic Christians will not know the face of God: They do not know Him. They say: 'God is like this...', but those who are lethargic do not know Him. The lethargic. You need a certain restlessness to set out on this path, the same restlessness that God placed in each of our hearts and that brings us forward in search of Him”.
A 'Caricature' of God
Pope Francis went on to say that of course “setting out on the journey and allowing God or life test us means taking a risk.” He added that this is what the giants [of Scripture] did, like the prophet Elijah, or Jeremiah, or Job, braving dangers and feeling themselves defeated by fatigue and distrust. But there is another way in which we risk being stationary and thus falsifying our search for God. Pope Francis pointed to it in the Gospel episode where the scribes and Pharisees rebuke Jesus because his disciples eat without having performed the ritual ablutions:
"In the Gospel, Jesus meets people who are afraid to set out on the path [in search of their identity] and who “content themselves with a caricature of God. It is a fake ID. These lethargic people have silenced the restlessness of their heart, they depict God with commandments and forget God: 'You, by neglecting the commandment of God, observe the tradition of men', and in doing so they turn away from God, they do not journey towards God and when they are insecure, they invent or make up another commandment."
The Grace to Remain on the Right Path
Pope Francis concluded that “people who act like this travel a "so-called path" a "path that goes nowhere, a slumberous path”:
"Today the liturgy invites us to reflect on these two texts, which are two identity cards, which we all have. The Lord has made us this way. One tells us: ‘Set out on the path and you will discover your identity, because you are the image of God, you are made in the likeness of God. Get up and seek God.' And the other: 'No, do not worry: fulfill all these commandments, and this is God. This is the face of God'. May the Lord give us all the grace of courage to always set out on the path, to seek the Lord's face, the face that one day we will see, but which we must seek here on Earth.”