Let’s keep some basic truths about Jesus in mind as we go about our daily tasks: Jesus came to reconcile all people to the love of his Father, Jesus came to call sinners, Jesus came so that no one would be lost, Jesus came to give us life to the fullest, and Jesus came to offer these free gifts to all.
Today, Jesus wants His Church to do these same things- and be a Church of love and mercy. We can’t transform the lives of people especially “sinners” unless we find a way to meet and greet them.
Pope Francis reminds ministers that “We have to leave the sacristies and go out into the streets and bring them into the Churches.” He also reminds us “to open our Church doors” if we want the people to enter and to feel welcome.
Someone once wrote: “our Church is a hotel for sinners and a greenhouse for saints.” Thus, there’s no doubt that we have to welcome people as guests in our “hotel” before we move them into our “greenhouse.”
Pope Francis is constantly urging us to be missionary disciples and invite others to share our beliefs. He urges us “to go out into the streets” and “get dirty for Christ.” Pope Francis knows it’s a difficult and risky endeavor, and literally jumbles our comfort level.
Our Pope reminds us that to be Christ’s disciple is not about comfort, it’s about “being sent” even “to the ends of the earth” to spread the Gospel. It’s quite challenging, and yes, quite uncomfortable!
But first we need to heal our own sinfulness and reluctance. For this, we need the Holy Spirit’s presence and strength. We need what the early apostles had when they began preaching the news of the kingdom. We need the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:20). We can’t bring what we don’t have, and our world today needs a good shot of all these fruits! We are invited to do what we can and to leave the rest to the Holy Spirit
Pope Francis continues to lead the way in this mandate. We see that he “walks the talk” of discipleship everyday. More importantly, he asks us to join him in finding the hurting, the disappointed, and the angry–to learn their pain. Only then, as ministers and Christians, will our hearts be open to the healing power of Jesus Christ.
Let’s then as stated above, in the course of this day, simply watch how we live each moment, and it will tell us what we believe in our hearts. For isn’t what we do and say– a good indicator of what we believe? Look at Pope Francis and see if this is not true!