By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Pope Francis used the reading from 1 Corinthians 10:31–11:1 during a homily he addressed to over 70,000 altar servers gathered in St Peter’s Square for an Extraordinary Audience. These altar servers between the ages of 13 and 23 come from 19 different countries and are participating in the 12th International Pilgrimage for Altar Boys and Girls.
Do everything for God’s glory
Giving God glory in everything (see 1 Cor 10:31) “sums up what it means to be a friend of Jesus”, Pope Francis began. When we are unsure, that can be our guide. “God’s glory is the needle of our moral compass”, he said. By it we recognize God’s voice and can know his will.
Be pleasing to everyone
Pope Francis’ then encouraged his listeners to practice St Paul’s exhortation to be pleasing to others so they may be saved (see 1 Cor 10:33). He suggested that we can brighten others up when they are down. This demonstrates both “love of God and the joy of faith” in addition to helping us remain friends with them. “If we keep doing this,” Pope Francis said, “it will help our brothers and sisters to come to know Jesus, our one Saviour”.
Mission not impossible
“Maybe you are wondering: ‘Can I do this? Isn’t it too much for me?’ ” the Pope continued. The mission is certainly a great one, “but it is not impossible”. St Paul provides the key when he says to imitate him as he imitates Christ (see 1 Cor 11:1). Imitating Christ and the saints makes it possible for us to carry out the mission. “They are the living Gospel, because they translated the message of Christ in their own lives”, the Pope said.
Soldier turned saint
Pope Francis concluded using the saint of the day – St Ignatius of Loyola – as an example:
As a young soldier, he was concerned with his own glory yet, in good time, he was attracted by the glory of God. There he discovered the heart and meaning of life itself. So let us imitate the saints. Let everything we do be for God’s glory and the salvation of our brothers and sisters.