We then offer our readers the first of the catechesis on the commandments developed by Pope Francis since 13 June.
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today is the feast of St Anthony of Padua. Which one of you is Antonio’s name? Let’s hear it for all the Antonios.
Today we begin a new catechetical itinerary. It will be on the subject of the commandments, the commandments of God’s law. The passage we have just heard is an introduction: the encounter between Jesus and a man – he is a young man – who, on his knees, asks him how he can attain eternal life (cf. Mk 10:17-21). And in that question is the challenge of each existence, also of ours: the desire for a full and infinite life. But how to get there, which way to go? To live for real, to live a noble existence… How many young people try to “live” and instead destroy the the most ephemeral things.
Some think it is better to put out this impulse – the impulse to live – because it is dangerous. I would like to say, above all to young people: our worst enemy is not concrete problems, however serious and dramatic, the greatest danger in life is a bad spirit of adaptation that is not meekness or humility, but mediocrity, pusilanimity. A mediocre young man, is he a young man with a future or not? No! He stays there; it doesn’t grow, it won’t succeed. Those young men who are afraid of everything: “No, I am like this…”, those young people will not succeed. Meekness is strength and no pusillanimity, no mediocrity. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati said we should live, not pull. The mediocre ones are pulling. Living with the strength of life. Heavenly Father should be asked for today’s youth for the gift of healthy restlessness. But in your homes, in every family, when there is a young man who is sitting all day, sometimes the mother and father think, “He’s sick, he’s got something,” and they take him to the doctor. The young man’s life is to go forward, to be restless, to be restless, to the ability not to be satisfied with a life without beauty, without color. If young people are not hungry for an authentic life, I wonder, where will humanity go, where will humanity go with young people who are still and not restless?
The question of that gospel man we have heard is within each of us: How is life, life in abundance, happiness? Jesus responds, “You know the commandments” (v. 19), and quotes a part of the Decalogue. It is a pedagogical process, with which Jesus wants to lead to a precise place. In fact, it is already clear, by his question, that this man does not have a full life, he seeks something else, he is restless. So what should you understand? He says, “Master, I have kept all this since my youth” (v. 20).
How do you move from youth to maturity? When you start accepting your own limitations. We become adults when we relativize and become aware of “what is missing” (cf. v. 21). This man is forced to recognize that everything he can “do” does not exceed a “roof”, it does not go beyond a margin.
How beautiful it is to be men and women! How precious our existence is! And yet there is a truth that in the history of the last centuries man has often rejected, with tragic consequences: the truth of his limitations.
Jesus, in the Gospel, says something that can help us: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish, but to comply” (Mt 5:17). The Lord Jesus gives away fulfillment, that is why he came. This man had to make a leap to reach the threshold, where the possibility of smoving from oneself, one’s own works, one’s own goods and – precisely because full life is lacking – to leave everything to follow the Lord. Looking at it well, in the final invitation of Jesus – immense, wonderful – there is not the proposal of poverty but that of wealth, the true one. “One thing is lacking: go, how much ye have to sell it and give it to the poor, and you shall have a treasure in heaven; Then come on, follow me!” (v. 21).
Who, being able to choose between an original and a copy, would choose the copy? This is the challenge: to find the original of life, not the copy. Jesus offers no substitutes, but true life, true love, true wealth! How can young people follow us in faith if they do not see us choose the original, if they see us addicted to half-inks? It is ugly to find Christians of half-inks, Christians – I allow myself the word – “dwarfs”; they grow to a certain height and then they don’t; Christians with a shrunk, closed heart. It’s ugly to run into this. It takes the example of someone who invites me to an “beyond”, to “something else”, to grow something else. St. Ignatius called it the “magis”, “the fire, the fervor of action, which shakes the sleepy”.
The way of what’s missing goes through what’s there. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them. We have to start from reality to make the leap to “what’s missing.” We must search the ordinary to open ourselves to the extraordinary.
In these catechesis we will take the two tables of Moses as Christians, by the hand of Jesus, to move from the illusions of youth to the treasure that is in heaven, walking behind Him. Let us find, in each of these laws, ancient and wise, the door opened by the Father who is in heaven so that the Lord Jesus, who has crossed it, will lead us to the true life, his life, the life of God’s children. Ω
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