7th December – St Ambrose

This is the commentary of Pope Francis on yesterday’s gospel about thebartimaeus call to conversion.

“’Why do we need to convert? Conversion is for an atheist who becomes a believer, or a sinner who becomes righteous. We do not need it, we are already Christian’ we think,” said Pope Francis to the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, before today’s Sunday Angelus prayer. “And this is not true”, he added. “If we think in this way, we do not realise that it is precisely because of this presumption – that we are Christians, good and doing the right thing – that we must convert.”

“The voice of the Baptist still cries in today’s deserts of humanity … closed minds and hardened hearts. It causes us to ask ourselves if we actually are following the right path, living a life according to the Gospel. Today, as then, he admonishes us with the words of the prophet Isaiah: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord!’. It is a pressing invitation to open our heart and receive the salvation that God incessantly, almost stubbornly offers, because he wants us all to be free of the slavery of sin. … And salvation is offered to every man, and every people, without excluding anyone, to each one of us. None of us can say, ‘I am a saint; I am perfect; I am already saved’. No. We should always accept this offer of salvation, and that is the reason for the Year of Mercy: to advance further in this journey of salvation, this path that Jesus has taught us. God wants all mankind to be saved by the mediation of Jesus, the only mediator”.

The Pope recalled that “each one of us is called to make Jesus known to those who still do not know Him. But this does not mean proselytising: no. It means opening a door. ‘Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!’, St. Paul declared. … I leave you with this question: Am I truly in love with Jesus? Am I convinced that Jesus offers me and gives me salvation? And, if I am in love, I have to make Him known! But we should be courageous: level the mountains of pride and rivalry; fill in the valleys of indifference and apathy; straighten the paths of our laziness and our comforts”.