Francis: God raises us from 'abyss' of pride

Pope Francis waves with two children as he leads his Angelus in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. 31. (CNS/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

The only privilege that counts in the eyes of God is seeking to not have privileges and to rather entrust yourself into God's care, Pope Francis told crowds in St. Peter's Square during his weekly Angelus address Sunday.

Reflecting on the Gospel reading for the day -- which sees Jesus speak at a Synagogue and be praised for his intellect before being chased away in anger -- the pontiff said that religion is not like an investment in the stock market but an openness to the continuing revelation of God.

Christians, Francis said, face the "temptation of considering religion like a human investment and, by consequence, 'negotiating' with God, searching for our own interests."

"True religion, by contrast, means welcoming the revelation of God who is father and who has cared for every one of his creatures, even the smallest and most insignificant in peoples' eyes," said the pope.

"Truly in this is the prophetic ministry of Jesus: Announcing that no human condition can constitute a motive of exclusion -- no human condition can constitute a motive of exclusion! -- from the heart of the father, and that the only privilege in the eyes of God is that of not having privileges," he said.

"The only privilege in the eyes of God is that of not having privileges, of not having tycoons, of being abandoned in his hands," Francis reiterated.

Mentioning Jesus' announcement at the Synagogue -- "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing" -- the pontiff said the "today" proclaimed by Christ is for every time.

"It resounds also in this Square, reminding us of the newness and the necessity of the salvation brought by Jesus to all humanity," said the pope. "God comes to meet men and women of all times and places in the concrete situations in which they live."

"God comes to meet even us," said Francis. "It is also him that makes the first step: God comes to visit us with his mercy, raising us up from the dust of our sins."

"God comes to take us by the hand to make us come out from the abyss in which our pride has made us fall into, and invites us to welcome the consoling truth of the Gospel and to walk on the path of the good," he said. "God always comes to find us, to look for us."

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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