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Pope Francis Talks about the Church, Division, Unity, Everyone 04.05.20


Pope Francis: Talks about the Church, Division, Unity, Everyone  04.05.20



Pope Francis   04.05.20   Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)      Acts 11: 1-18,      John 10: 11-18
Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Pope Francis  Everyone 04.05.20

When Peter went up to Jerusalem, the faithful reproached him (cf. Acts 11: 1-18). They reproached him for entering the house of uncircumcised men and of having eaten with them, with the pagans: they couldn't do that, it was a sin. The purity of the law did not allow this. But Peter had done it because it was the Spirit that brought him there. There is always in the Church – especially in the early Church, because it was not clear – this spirit of "we are the righteous, the others the sinners". This "us and them", "us and them", divisions: "We have the right position before God". Instead there are "the others", sometimes we say: "They are already the condemned" . And this is a disease of the Church, a disease that arises from ideologies or religious parties. 

At the time of Jesus, there were at least four religious parties: the Pharisees party, the party of the Sadducees, the party of Zealots and the party of the Essenes, and each interpreted the law according to the "idea" that it had. And this idea is a school that is outside of the law when it's a way of thinking, of feeling worldly you make yourself an interpreter of the law. They also reproached Jesus for entering the house of the tax collectors – who were sinners, according to them – and for eating with them, with sinners, because the purity of the law did not allow it; and he didn't wash his hands before lunch. There is always this reproach that makes division: this is important, and I would like to emphasize it.

There are ideas, positions that divide, to the point that division is more important than unity. My idea is more important than the Holy Spirit who guides us. There is an "emeritus" cardinal who lives here in the Vatican, a good pastor, and he said to his faithful: "But the Church is like a river, you know? Some are more on this side, some on the other side, but the important thing is that everyone is inside the river." This is the unity of the Church. No one outside, everyone inside. Then, with the peculiarities: this does not divide, it is not ideology, it is lawful. But why does the Church have this breadth of river? It's because the Lord wants it that way.

The Lord, in the Gospel, tells us: "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also must I lead, and they will hear my voice and there will be one flock, one shepherd" (John 10:16). The Lord says, "I have sheep everywhere, and I am everyone's shepherd." This "everyone" in Jesus is very important. Let us think of the parable of the wedding feast (cf. Mt 22: 1-10), when the guests did not want to go there: one because he had bought a field, one had married; everyone gave their reason not to go. And the master became angry and said, "Go to the crossroads and bring everyone to the feast" (v. 9). All of them. Big and small, rich and poor, good and bad. Everyone. This "everyone" is a bit of the vision of the Lord who came for everyone and died for everyone. "But did he also die for that wretched person who made my life impossible?" He died for him, too. "And for that robber?": he died for him. For everyone. And also for people who do not believe in him or are of other religions: he died for everyone. That doesn't mean you have to proselytize: no. But he died for everyone, he justified everyone.

Here in Rome there is a lady, a good woman, a teacher, Professor Mara, who when there were difficulties with various things, among different parties, said: "But Christ is dead for everyone: let's just go ahead with it!". That constructive ability. We have only one Redeemer, one unity: Christ died for everyone. Instead the temptation ... Paul also suffered: "I am from Paul, I am from Apollo, I am of this, I am of the other ...". And let us think of us, fifty years ago, after the Council: the divisions that the Church suffered. "I am on this side, I think so, you do ...". Yes, it is permissible to think so, but in the unity of the Church, under Jesus the Shepherd.

Two things. The reproach of the faithful to Peter because he had entered the house of the pagans and Jesus who says: "I am the shepherd of all". I'm everyone's shepherd. And who says: "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also must I lead, and they will hear my voice and there will be one flock" (cf. John 10:16). It is prayer for the unity of all men, because all men and women all have one Shepherd: Jesus.

May the Lord frees us from that psychology of division, from dividing, and help us to see this of Jesus, this great thing of Jesus, that in him we are all brothers and sisters and he is the Shepherd of everyone. That word, today: "Everyone, everyone!", to accompany us throughout the day.