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Pope urges change

[With acknowledgement to the National Catholic Reporter]

On 10 November in Florence, Italy, Pope Francis outlined a comprehensive vision for the future of the Catholic church, forcefully telling an emblematic meeting of the entire Italian church community that our times require a deeply merciful Catholicism that is unafraid of change.

Francis was speaking to the theme of A new humanism in Jesus Christ. He started his remarks with a meditation on the face of Jesus, which is represented in the iconic dome of the Florence Cathedral in a renaissance image of the final judgment.

Looking at his face, what do we see? the pontiff asked those in the church. Before all, the face of a God who is emptied, a God who has assumed the condition of servant, humble and obedient until death.

The face of Jesus is similar to that of so many of our humiliated brothers, made slaves, emptied, he said. God had assumed their face. And that face looks to us. If we do not lower ourselves we will not see his face. We will not see anything of his fullness if we do not accept that God has emptied God’s self.

Francis then asked the Italians to turn to the image of Jesus in Florence’s Cathedral and imagine what he might say to them as a sign of how they should go forward in their national work. Quoting twice from Matthew’s Gospel, the pontiff said they could imagine Jesus saying either: I was thirsty and you gave me drink, or I was thirsty and you did not give me anything to drink.

May the beatitudes and the words that we have just read on the universal judgment help us to live the Christian life to the level of sainthood, the pope exhorted. They are few words, simple, but practical. May the Lord give us the grace to understand this, his message!

Explaining the beatitudes earlier in the speech, Francis said that in those eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount the Lord shows us the way.

Following it, we human beings can come to more authentic and divine happiness, he said. Jesus speaks of the happiness that we feel only when we are poor in spirit. On the part of the most humble of our people there is much of this beatitude. It is that of who knows the richness of solidarity, of sharing even the little that you have; the richness of the daily sacrifice of work, sometimes hard and poorly paid, but carried out for love towards dear persons.

If the church does not assume the sentiments of Jesus, it is disoriented, it loses its sense. The beatitudes, in the end, are the mirror in which we see ourselves, that which permits us to know if we are walking on the right path: it is a mirror that does not lie.

For a full copy of the article, please click here.

[ Posted 13 November 2015 ]

 

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