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Pope Francis: Triumphalism is a temptation of Christians
April 12th, 2013
2013-04-12 Vatican Radio
When God touches a person’s heart, the Pope said in his homily, he grants a grace that lasts a lifetime; he does not perform some “magic” that lasts but an instant. The Pope reflected on the climate of agitation immediately following the death of Jesus, when the behaviour and the preaching of the Apostles caught the attention of the Pharisees.
He picked up on the words of the Pharisee Gamaliel, cited in the Acts of the Apostles, who warns the Sanhedrin of the danger of attempts on the lives of Jesus’ disciples and reminds them how, in the past, the clamour generated by prophets found to be false subsided along with their followers. Gamaliel’s suggestion is to wait and see what will come of Jesus’ followers.
This “is wise advice even for our lives because time is God’s messenger,” Pope Francis observed. “God saves us in time, not in the moment. Sometimes he performs miracles, but in ordinary life, he saves us in time… in history … (and) in the personal story” of our lives.
The Pope added that God does not act “like a fairy with a magic wand”. Rather, he gives “grace and says, as he said to all those he healed, ‘Go, walk’. He says the same to us: ‘Move forward in your life, witness to everything the Lord does with us’ ”.
Pope Francis said “a great temptation” that lurks in the Christian life is triumphalism. “It is a temptation that even the Apostles had,” he said. Peter had it when he solemnly assured that he would not deny Jesus. The people also experienced it after the multiplication of the loaves.
“Triumphalism,” the Pope asserted, “is not of the Lord. The Lord came to Earth humbly; he lived his life for 30 years; he grew up like a normal child; he experienced the trial of work and the trial of the Cross. Then, in the end, he resurrected.”
“The Lord teaches that in life not everything is magical, that triumphalism is not Christian,” the Pope said. The life of the Christian consists of a normality that is lived daily with Christ.
“This is the grace for which we must ask: perseverance. Perseverance in our walk with the Lord, everyday, until the end,” he stated. “That the Lord may save us from fantasies of triumphalism,” he concluded. “Triumphalism is not Christian, it is not of the Lord. The daily journey in the presence of God, this is the way of the Lord.”