Pope Francis has warned Christians not to place conditions on God or to confuse ideology with faith.
To explain this, the pope spoke about the Old Testament figure of Jonah when celebrating Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Oct. 8, reported CNS.
During his homily, Pope Francis reflected on how the prophet first refused to do what God had asked of him and how Jonah was “stubborn” about what he thought faith was.
But “the Lord was stubborn in his mercy. He never leaves us. He knocks at the door of our hearts until the end,” Pope Francis said.
Jonah, the pope said, “is the model of those ‘as long as’ Christians, those Christians with conditions.”
Such people, the pope told Mass goers, say things like: “‘I am a Christian as long as things are done this way.’ ‘No, no, these changes aren’t Christian.’ ‘This is heresy.’ ‘This won’t do.’ Christians who place conditions on God, who place conditions on the faith and the action of God.”
Placing conditions on God and on the Church, the pope said, entraps Christians “in their own ideas and ends up in ideology. It’s the awful journey from faith to ideology. And today there are many people like this.”
People like this, the pope said, are fearful “of growth, of the challenges of life, the challenges of the Lord, the challenges of history” and in its place they are attached to “their first convictions.”
“They prefer the ideology to faith,” he said, and they drift away from the community because “they are afraid to put themselves in God’s hands and prefer to judge everything from the smallness of their hearts.”