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Monday, October 12, 2015

The archbishop of Corfu, Zante and Cefalonia reflects with the Synod Fathers on external worship and inner adhesion to the Word of God

Vatican City, 10 October 2015 (VIS) – During this morning's Terce prayer with the Synod Fathers, Archbishop Ioannis Spiteris O.F.M. Cap. of Corfu, Zante and Cefalonia reflected on the biblical reading from the Book of Samuel. In the text the prophet accuses the king Saul of not having rigorously observed the law that demanded he sacrifice all his loot to God. The king not only kept it for himself but also passed the blame to his soldiers. But in the text, as Archbishop Spiteris observed, Samuel also reproaches Saul who wishes to compensate for the lack of faith and obedience to God through sacrifices, an external sign of his devotion.

“The Author, by placing two attitudes before the man who wishes to please God, does not invite him to choose between sacrifice and mercy (being docile), but rather makes him understand that God appreciates one more than the other; that His eyes do not rest on appearances but instead look to the heart. … And Samuel shows Saul that sacrifice and listening to God's voice do not have the same value: 'To obey is better than sacrifice'”.

“Throughout the history of the Church, on paths beaten by saints, this affirmation has and continues to illuminate. No, holiness (that is, the communion with God as Love that is expressed in the commitment to living well with love one's human and Christian commitments) does not consist in the primacy of sacrifice, of external and soulless worship, but rather in loving obedience to God, in putting into practice His quintessential commandment, reciprocal love. It may indeed be a fatal deception, this imposition of exorbitant sacrifices, not so much for making life better and more serene for oneself and for others, but rather for appearing better and holier than others, like the Pharisee in the parable who boasts of his own merits and scorns the other, considered a publican and a sinner. The Phariseeism which prevailed in Jesus' time is always ready to resurface where insufficient attention is paid to the Word to be welcomed with joy and put into practice”.

“May we all, sacrificing the wish to listen to the many inner voices that urge us to seek the salvation of our own good works, silencing the voice of the Lord Who invites us to loving communion with Him, be able to entrust ourselves to He Who is able to do all and Whose arms are continually open to welcome us”, concluded the Prelate.

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