Do we seek God alone to solve our problems? Today, Pope Francis asks us to stop and think about the real reason we seek God and reminds us that true love is indifferent: one does not like to receive a favor in return!
Mireia Bonilla – Vatican
When the Holy Father bowed, as every Sunday, from the balcony of the Apostolic Palace, this afternoon he asked the faithful of the world to discern their reasons for seeking God. Francis meditated on today’s Gospel according to the Gospel of John, which shows us the moment when a large crowd of people went in boats to search for Jesus in Capernaum. They did not seek it because they had received a sign but because they had already experienced the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, they ate and were satisfied. The Pope says: “People did not understand the meaning of this gesture: they remained in the external miracle and in the material bread.”
Do we only ask God for our needs?
The same thing can happen to us, which is why today the Pope wants us to think about our reasons for seeking the Lord. Do we ask God for our benefit, to solve problems, to thank God for what we cannot achieve for ourselves, out of interest? “If this is so – as the Pope says – faith remains superficial and miraculous: we seek God to nourish us and then forget Him when we are satisfied” because “at the heart of this immature faith is not God but our needs”.
In this sense, the Pope insists that the Lord acts beyond our expectations and “wants to live with us first and foremost in a relationship of love,” recalling that “true love is indifferent, it is free: it does not love for the sake of having a service in return!” This is called “caring,” says the Pope, emphasizing that this is often called – as he says – “we care about life.”
God teaches us to love without interest and without accounts
Francis remembers a question the crowd asked Jesus at that time: “What must we do to do the works of God? The Pope explains that this question can be translated into ‘How can we purify our search for God?’” Well, the answer – as the Pope says – is “Jesus”. “No religious practices are added or special teachings followed; it is to welcome Jesus into our lives, and to live a love story with Him.” Indeed – as the Pope says – “he will be the one who purifies our faith” because “we cannot do it ourselves because there is a relationship with him that goes beyond the logic of interest and calculation.”
We must ask ourselves: in our human and social relationships, do we give up attention?
Before praying to the Mother of Heaven, the Pope insisted that this distinction does not only concern God, but that we must also excel in our human and social relations, then, as the Pope says, “when we seek above all to satisfy our needs.” We risk using people and exploiting situations for our purposes. He said that a society whose center is interests and not people is a society that does not generate life.
Therefore, the call of today’s Gospel and the Pope is: “Instead of worrying only about material bread that takes away hunger, let us accept Jesus as the bread of life, and from our friendship with Him we learn to love ourselves among ourselves. Free and without account.” And he concludes by saying: “Free love without calculation, without using people, with dignity, with generosity, and magnanimity.”