Be Not of This World

Oh my goodness, the continuity, and the Spirit unleashed!

That’s my continued experience of Pope Francis.

This morning’s homily is no exception. He talked about that when we, members of the Body of Christ in the Church, become of the world, we cannot transmit the Gospel to others.

Isn’t this so much of the problem? We succumb to pressures and desires, discouragement, despair –- we stop praying, we stop seeing the hand of God, we don’t hear Him, we don’t trust Him.

The continuity aspect is: I keep hearing the prayers and even the voice of the pope emeritus. In December, at that conference on the Church in the Americas I attended, he admonished the Catholic “leader” who does not encounter Christ every day. We must pray. We must receive the Sacraments. We must be for real.

Does this pope ever get it! Our condition. Our times. He said at Mass this morning, according to the Vatican Radio translation:

it is easy to pray for the grace of the Lord, “to thank Him” or when “we need something.” But it is fundamental that we also pray to the Lord for all, for those who have “received the same Baptism,” saying “they are Yours, they are ours, watch over them.”

He gave us all some work to do:

“we can safeguard the Church, we can cure the Church, no? We do so with our work, but what’s most important is what the Lord does: He is the only One who can look into the face of evil and overcome it. The prince of the world comes but can do nothing against me: if we don’t want the prince of this world to take the Church into his hands, we must entrust it to the One who can defeat the prince of this world. Here the question arises: do we pray for the Church, for the entire Church? For our brothers and sisters whom we do not know, everywhere in the world? It is the Lord’s Church and in our prayer we say to the Lord: Lord, look at your Church … It’s yours. Your Church is [made up of ] our brothers and sisters. This is a prayer that must come from our heart.

It is so easy to be discouraged and disappointed about sin and cowardice. But do we have any right to be discouraged and disappointed? Do we pray for leaders in the Church? Do we pray for one another? And why be tempted into discouragement or disappointment? Let us pray!

From the translation:

Entrust the Church to the Lord is a prayer that makes the Church grow. It is also an act of faith. We can do nothing, we are poor servants — all of us — of the Church: it is He who keeps her going and holds her and makes her grow, makes her holy, defends and protects her from the prince of this world and what he wants the Church to become, in short more and more worldly. This is the greatest danger! When the Church becomes worldly, when she has the spirit of the world within herself, when that peace which is not that of the Lord — that peace when Jesus says, “I leave you peace, my peace I give you,” not as the world gives it — when she has that worldly peace, the Church is a weak Church, a defeated Church, unable to transmit the Gospel, the message of the Cross, the scandal of the Cross … She cannot transmit this if she is worldly.

He prayed:

“May the Lord make us strong so we do not lose faith, so we do not lose hope”. Entrusting the Church to the Lord “will do us and the Church good. It will give us great peace [and although] it will not rid us of our tribulations, it will make us stronger in our sufferings.”

We each have a responsibility here, Baptized Catholics. Let us pray for one another. That all our trust is in the name of the Lord who made Heaven and earth.


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