Faith not a transactional relationship with God: Pope

People in St Peter’s Square attend the Angelus led by Pope Francis from the window of his studio overlooking the square on Sunday (CNS/Vatican Media)

People should ask themselves whether their faith has become a “commercial relationship” with God or if it is a relationship built on freedom, love and generosity, Pope Francis in his Angelus address on Sunday. Source: CNS.

Faith, he said, “is not a cold, mechanical ritual”, a “quid pro quo” in which people must do something to obtain something in return.

People need to ask, “What is faith for me? If it is mainly a duty or a bargaining chip, we are off track, because salvation is a gift and not a duty; it is free and cannot be bought,” the Pope said, speaking to pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square for his Angelus address.

The Pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading of Jesus setting out on a journey and encountering a rich man who asked him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The Pope said the verbs the man uses, “must do” and “inherit,” show he sees religious belief as “a duty, a doing so as to obtain; I do something to get what I need. But this is a commercial relationship with God, a quid pro quo.”

The rich man told Jesus he had faithfully observed the commandments since he was young, but Jesus, “looking at him, loved him,” and offered him “the true face of God,” the Pope said.

Jesus then invites the man to take the next step and give up his possessions to follow Christ, but the man walked away sad.

“Often, we do the bare minimum, whereas Jesus invites us to do the maximum possible. How many times are we satisfied with doing our duties — the precepts and a few prayers — whereas God, who gives us life,” asks for passion in return, Francis said.

Jesus shows the need to go from a sense of duty to an attitude of loving and freely giving, he said.

FULL STORY

Faith is not a transactional relationship with God, Pope says at Angelus (By Carol Glatz, CNS

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