True Christians are able to turn the other cheek because they realise that Jesus Christ is “all” and everything else is “nothing”, Pope Francis said at Mass this morning.
Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus urges his disciples to “offer no resistance to one who is evil”, the Pope said: “A Christian is a person who opens up his or her heart with this spirit of benevolence, because he or she has ‘all’: Jesus Christ. The other things are ‘nothing’. Some are good, they have a purpose, but in the moment of choice he or she always chooses ‘all’, with that meekness, that Christian meekness that is the sign of Jesus’s disciples: meekness and benevolence.
“To live like this is not easy, because you really do receive slaps! And on both cheeks! But a Christian is meek, a Christian is benevolent: he or she opens up his or her heart. Sometimes we come across these Christians with little hearts, with shrunken hearts… This is not Christianity: this is selfishness, masked as Christianity.”
According to Vatican Radio, he added: “A true Christian knows how to solve this bipolar opposition, this tension that exists between ‘all’ and ‘nothing’, just as Jesus has taught us: ‘First search for God’s Kingdom and its justice, the rest comes afterwards.’
“God’s Kingdom is ‘all’, the other is secondary. And all Christian errors, all the Church’s errors, all our errors stem from when we say ‘nothing’ is ‘all’, and to ‘all’ we say it does not count… Following Jesus is not easy, but it’s not difficult either, because on the path of love the Lord does things in such a way that we can go forward; it is the Lord himself who opens up our heart.
“When one takes on an option for ‘nothing’, it is from that option that conflicts arise in families, in friendships, between friends, in society. Conflicts that end in war: for ‘nothing’! ‘Nothing’ is always the seed of wars. Because it is the seed of selfishness. ‘All’ is Jesus. Let us ask the Lord to open up our heart, to make us humble, meek and benevolent because we have ‘all’ in Him. And let’s ask him to help us avoid creating everyday problems stemming from ‘nothing’.”
Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of the Financial Information Authority, concelebrated the Mass in the chapel of the Pope’s residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila was also present.