God promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, but he and his descendants will have to observe the Covenant with the Lord. Pope Francis’ homily takes its cue from the first reading of the day to explain the end of Christ’s message to the Pharisees: their mistake – he notes – was to “detach the commandments from the heart of God”. They thought it enough to merely keep the commandments, but these – the Pope said – “are not just a cold law”, because they are born from a relationship of love and are “indications” that help us avoid mistakes in our journey to meet Jesus. So, the Pharisees who close their hearts and minds “to all things new,” do not understand “the path of hope”. “This is the drama of the closed heart, the drama of the closed mind – the Pope said – and when the heart is closed, this heart closes the mind , and when the heart and mind are closed there is no place for God”, but only for what we believe should be done .
Instead , “the commandments carry a promise and the prophets wake this promise up”. How many have closed heart and mind, how many cannot accept the “new message” brought by Jesus, “which is what was promised by the faithfulness of God and the prophets. But they do not understand”.
“It is a closed way of thinking that is not open to dialogue, to the possibility that there is something else, the possibility that God speaks to us, tells us about His journey, as he did to the prophets. These people did not listen to the prophets and did not listen to Jesus. It is something greater than a mere stubbornness. No, it is more: it is the idolatry of their own way of thinking. ‘I think this, it has to be this way, and nothing more’. These people had a narrow line of thought and wanted to impose this way of thinking on the people of God, Jesus rebukes them for this: ‘ You burden the people with many commandments and you do not touch them with your finger'”.
Jesus’ “rebukes their incoherence”. “The theology of these people – the Pope notes – becomes a slave to this pattern, this pattern of thought: a narrow line of thought”.
“There is no possibility of dialogue, there is no possibility to open up to new things which God brings with the prophets. They killed the prophets, these people; they close the door to the promise of God. When this phenomenon of narrow thinking enters human history, how many misfortunes. We all saw in the last century, the dictatorships of narrow thought , which ended up killing a lot of people, but when they believed they were the overlords, no other form of though was allowed. This is the way they think”.
“Even today – the Pope said – there is the idolatry of a narrow line of thought”.
“Today we have to think in this way and if you do not think in this way, you are not modern, you’re not open or worse. Often rulers say : ‘I have asked for aid, financial support for this’ , ‘ But if you want this help, you have to think in this way and you have to pass this law, and this other law and this other law…’ Even today there is a dictatorship of a narrow line of thought and this dictatorship is the same as these people: it takes up stones to stone the freedom of the people, the freedom of the people, their freedom of conscience, the relationship of the people with God. Today Jesus is Crucified once again”.
The Lord’s exhortation “faced with this dictatorship – said the Pope – is always the same: be vigilant and pray; do not be silly , do not buy” things “you do not need, be humble and pray, that the Lord always gives us the freedom of an open heart, to receive his Word which is joy and promise and covenant! And with this covenant move forward!”