Pope Francis reflects on the Church

Pope Francis writes, ” We can live this journey not only thanks to other persons but together with other persons. “Do it yourself” does not exist in the Church; “free builders” do not exist. How many times Pope Benedict described the Church as an ecclesial “we”! How many times have we heard this? And this is not on. There are those who think they can have a personal, direct, immediate relation with Jesus Christ outside the communion and mediation of the Church. These are dangerous and harmful temptations. They are, as the great Paul VI said, absurd dichotomies. It is true that to walk together is demanding, and sometimes it can be exhausting: it can happen that a brother or a sister causes one a problem, or gives scandal … But the Lord entrusted his message of salvation to human persons, to all of us, to witnesses; and it is in our brothers and our sisters, with their gifts and limitations, that He comes to meet us and makes us recognize Him. And this means to belong to the Church. Remember this well: to be a Christian means to belong to the Church. The name is “Christian,” and the surname is “belonging to the Church.”

We need the Church. We are one body, one body in Christ and we do not stand alone. Jesus is the head and we are the Body of Christ. There is great diversity in the Body of Christ. 

Today in the diocese of Arlington Va priests moved to their new assignments. Here at St Timothy two priests left this morning to go to their new parishes and one priest is coming. There is such diversity among priests in the Church. One priest has gifts and talents (and quirks) that another priests does not have. He is able to touch people with the love of God that another priest would never be able to touch.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t desire conformity. John Paul II said that the Holy Spirit creates unity in diversity. Vatican II said, ” That is not God’s will to save us as individuals but to save us as a body with the ties that bind us together. ” 

The next time you feel angry at someone in the Church remember that you will be united with them with the greatest bonds of friendship in Heaven. Following Jesus means loving the Church. When we follow Jesus we are called to love and accept all those whom Jesus loves. That means we are called to love everyone. 

There is no one that is perfect. We have all sinned. There is only one who is sinless and that is Jesus. We can all say, “Jesus have mercy on me a sinner.” 

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