The Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel reading from Luke 10:13-16, saying that it was the leaders of Christ’s day who “close(d) the door to God’s way of salvation.” In this passage, Christ admonishes the people of Charazin and Bethsaida for their hard-heartedness towards his message of salvation and warns them, “If the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented.” “That’s why Jesus has such strong words with the leaders of his day — they argue, they try to trick him and catch him out because they are resisting his offer of salvation,” Pope Francis said during his daily homily at the Santa Marta residence Oct. 3, according to Vatican Radio. Rather than accepting the Christ’s message of salvation, the leaders “reduce salvation to the fulfillment of 613 commandments they have created through their own intellectual fervor” and reject Jesus, just as prophets in the Old Testament were rejected, the Pope said. This is a common occurrence not only throughout Scripture, but also in human hearts throughout history, he continued. The Holy Father asked which kind of salvation we prefer: one given to us freely by God himself through his mercy, or one that is based on “man-made commandments”? If it is the latter, Pope Francis said, “I may feel safe but the truth is I am buying my salvation, instead of receiving the free gift that God gives me.” “God’s only wish is to save his people, but so often we want to make the rules for our salvation.”