By Robin Gomes
Recalling how God established His covenant with the Israelites at Mount Sinai after bringing them out of slavery from Egypt, Pope Francis, in his homily, urged Estonians not to give into new forms of slavery after emerging from decades-long repression under foreign domination.
He told them it is God who loved us first and who wants our free response. God fulfils man’s aspirations and without Him we aren't pilgrims but orphans and drifters with no home to return to.
Listening and seeking
Like the Israelites who came out of Egypt, the Pope said, we too have to listen and seek.
People think they can show their strength by speaking loud or threatening to use weapons, deploy troops and implementi strategies to prevail over others. The Pope said, this is not “seeking” God’s will but rejecting ethics and God.
Ethics leads to God who calls for free and committed response to others and to the world. The Pope told Estonian Catholics they did not gain their freedom in order to end up as slaves of consumerism, individualism or the thirst for power or domination.
The Pope recalled that in the desert, His chosen people were tempted seek other Gods, such as the golden calf and trusting in their own strength, but God always called them to Himself. The Pope reminded Estonian Catholics they are chosen by God to be a priestly and holy people.
Being chosen does not mean being exclusive or sectarian, hiding or withdrawing, thinking ourselves better or purer. Rather, the Pope said, God wants us to be like yeast, to leave our comfort zones and “go forth” and fly boldly, assured we are always protected by Him. Pope Francis said, “We have to leave our fears behind and go forth from our safe places, because today most Estonians do not identify themselves as believers.”
Estonian Catholics need to go out as priests, to help others establish a loving encounter and relationship with God who cries out: “Come to me!” They need to spend time and be close to others, accompanying them with compassion that heals, frees and encourages growth in the Christian life.
Pope Francis said Estonian Catholics are all called to be holy by living their lives with love and by bearing witness in everything they do. Holiness is lived day-to-day and expands, overflows and makes fruitful all that it touches. “Today,” the Pope said, “we choose to be saints by shoring up the outskirts and fringes of our society, wherever our brothers and sisters lie prostrate and experience rejection.”
The Pope concluded urging that Estonian Catholics be able to discern how to be free, to embrace goodness and feel chosen, and how to let God increase, here in Estonia and in the whole world, his holy nation, his priestly people.