Wednesday, March 8


A Commentary on Today's Gospel

From a retreat preached at the Vatican in 1983 by the then-Cardinal Ratzinger:

" 'This generation seeks a sign.' We also wait for a demonstration, a sign of success, in the history of the world as much as in our personal life. Consequently, we wonder whether Christianity has transformed the world, whether it has produced that sign of bread and of security that the devil spoke about in the desert (Mt 4:3). Following Karl Marx's argumentation, Christianity has had enough time to establish the proof of its principles, to give a proof of its success, to demonstrate that it has created the earthly paradise. According to Marx, after all this time, it would thus be necessary from now on to base oneself on other principles.

"This argumentation does not fail to impress many Christians, and many think that it is at least necessary to invent a very different Christianity, one that renounces the luxury of interiority, of a spiritual life. But that is precisely how they prevent the true transformation of the world, which has its origin in a new heart, a vigilant heart, a heart that is open to the truth and to love, a heart that is liberated and free.

"Selfishness, the impurity of a heart that expects nothing from God except personal success and help in affirming the absoluteness of self, is at the root of that corrupt demand for a sign. This form of religiosity is a fundamental refusal of conversion. But how often do we ourselves not depend on a sign of success! How often do we not demand a sign and refuse conversion!"

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