Pope Francis’ homily today was so good, I had to post about it immediately. Every time I read something this pope says, it’s proof to me the Spirit is alive and well for sure because this Church needed this pope at this moment. And here he is. When I read this homily, I joked that Pope Francis must have visited one of my former parishes because the scenes he describes are right out of Catholic central casting. Unfortunately. Like this story:
“Think of the good Christians, with good will, we think about the parish secretary, a secretary of the parish … ‘Good evening, good morning, the two of us – boyfriend and girlfriend – we want to get married.’ And instead of saying, ‘That’s great!’. They say, ‘Oh, well, have a seat. If you want the Mass, it costs a lot … ‘ This, instead of receiving a good welcome- It is a good thing to get married! ‘- But instead they get this response:’ Do you have the certificate of baptism, all right …’ And they find a closed door. When this Christian and that Christian has the ability to open a door, thanking God for this fact of a new marriage … We are many times controllers of faith, instead of becoming facilitators of the faith of the people.”
How many times have you heard of people you know being turned away in exactly this manner, or worse? I know quite a few. In fact, I’m related to some. It’s painful and it drives a wedge between the People of God and the Church on the whim of the person at the front desk, all in the name of the letter of the law over the heart of the law. And we know how Jesus felt about that.
Here’s another quote from the pope’s homily:
“Think about a single mother who goes to church, in the parish and to the secretary she says: ‘I want my child baptized’. And then this Christian, this Christian says: ‘No, you cannot because you’re not married!’. But look, this girl who had the courage to carry her pregnancy and not to return her son to the sender, what is it? A closed door! This is not zeal! It is far from the Lord! It does not open doors! And so when we are on this street, have this attitude, we do not do good to people, the people, the People of God, but Jesus instituted the seven sacraments with this attitude and we are establishing the eighth: the sacrament of pastoral customs!”
“Jesus is indignant when he sees these things” – said the Pope – because those who suffer are “his faithful people, the people that he loves so much”
“We think today of Jesus, who always wants us all to be closer to Him, we think of the Holy People of God, a simple people, who want to get closer to Jesus and we think of so many Christians of goodwill who are wrong and that instead of opening a door they close the door of goodwill … So we ask the Lord that all those who come to the Church find the doors open, find the doors open, open to meet this love of Jesus. We ask this grace. “
Have I mentioned that I love this pope. He knows exactly what our Church needs to hear. I only hope everyone is listening. And by “everyone” I don’t mean just the people in the pews. I mean the people who have the power to make decisions that will change things — like the pastors who can make sure no couple comes to their door and leaves feeing unwanted, like the bishops who can make sure the pastors they appoint truly want to bring people to Jesus not just get through a few years to a new appointment or retirement with as little effort and interest and connection as possible.
The people are hungry for God. Pope Francis knows this. The people know this. Not sure how everyone in between missed the memo.