"A Church without martyrs breeds distrust; A Church that does not risk breeds distrust; A Church that is afraid of proclaiming Jesus Christ and chasing out demons, idols, the other lord, which is money, is not the Church of Jesus. "
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A "lukewarm" church, which lacks the courage to proclaim Jesus pleases the evil spirit, but "breeds distrust"; it is courageous, if it has martyrs like Msgr. Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador, killed by death squads, it finds joy and renewed vigor said Pope Francis at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
He was commenting on the 16th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles that tells of Paul and Silas in Philippi . Here a slave practicing divination begins to follow them and, shouting, indicates them as "servants of God."
It was praise, but Paul knew that this woman was possessed by an evil spirit, one day, growing annoyed, he cast out the spirit. Paul," noted Francis, understood that "that was not the way of the conversion of that city, because everything was quiet." It was not the Church of Christ. Everyone accepted the doctrine. But there were no conversions.
This is repeated in the history of salvation: when the people of God were quiet, they did not risk or rather they served – I would not say idols," but "worldliness." Then the Lord sent the prophets who were persecuted "because they made people uncomfortable," like Paul was; he perceived the deceit and dismissed this spirit, which, while saying the truth - that he and Silas were men of God – it was, however, "a lukewarm spirit, which made the Church lukewarm. " "In the Church when someone denounces so many ways of worldliness they are given a crooked look, [as if] something were wrong with them, and distanced”.
"I remember in my land many, so many men and women who were good consecrated [people], not ideologues, but who said, 'No, the Church of Jesus is like this ...' - 'This on here is a communist, out!' And they threw them away, They persecuted them. Think of Blessed Romero, right? What happened to him when he told the truth. And many, many in the history of the Church, even here in Europe. Why? Because the evil spirit prefers a tranquil, risk-free Church, a business-like church, a comfortable church, in the comfort of warmth, lukewarm. "
Then, in the 16th chapter of the Acts, the slaves of the slave were angry: they had lost their hope of earning money because the slave could no longer divine. "The evil one always starts from the pockets." "When the Church is lukewarm, quiet, organized, when there are no problems, look at where business is to be made."
But in addition to "money", the Pope focused his homily, on joy. In fact, Paul and Silas are dragged by the slaves to the magistrates who order them to be beaten and then thrown into jail. The jailer throws them into the inner part of the jail. But Paul and Silas sang. Towards midnight, there was a tremendous earthquake and all the gates of the prison opened. The jailer was about to take his life because he would have been killed if the prisoners had escaped but Paul urged him not to hurt himself because, he said, "we are all here." Then the jailer asked for explanations and converted. He washed their sores, was baptized, and "was filled with joy." "And this is the path of our daily conversion: to move from a worldly, tranquil, safe, Catholic, yes, yes, but warm, state of life to the true proclamation of Jesus Christ, to the joy of ' Christ's announcement. To move from a religion that looks too much on earnings, to faith, and proclamation: 'Jesus is the Lord' ".
This is the miracle that the Holy Spirit works. The Pope exhorted those present to read Chapter 16 of the Acts to see how the Lord "with his martyrs" makes the Church move forward. "A A Church without martyrs breeds distrust; A Church that does not risk breeds distrust; A Church that is afraid of proclaiming Jesus Christ and chasing out demons, idols, the other lord, which is money, is not the Church of Jesus. In prayer we asked for grace and also thank the Lord for renewed vigor that He gives us with Jesus and ask for the grace that He preserve this renewed youth. This Church of Filippi was renewed and became a young Church. May we all have this: a renewed youth, a conversion from the lukewarm way of life to the joyful proclamation that Jesus is the Lord. "
"How many Christians, by their example, with their inconsistency, drive people away from the Faith: the incoherence of Christians is one of the readiest weapons the devil has to weaken the People of God." "Every shepherd must ask: How is my friendship with money? Or the shepherd who seeks to rise: vanity leads him to climb, instead of being gentle, humble, because meekness and humility favor closeness to the people."
Receiving the bishops attending the refresher seminar sponsored by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Francis recommended they ensure that everything is put in place for evangelization and the various pastoral activities "are not damaged or nullified by existing divisions or those that can be created. " "The devil enters through our pockets and destroys with tongues, with gossip that divides and the habit of gossip is a habit of terrorism."
"Sewing jealousies, ambitions, ideas, but to divide! Or sow greed. " And as happens after a war "everything is destroyed. And the devil goes away happy. And we - naive, we are to his game. " "The divisions in the Church do not let the Kingdom of God grow; do not let the Lord show how good He is. "
In Argentina, "these people are called 'zizzaniere' [sowers of weeds]: they cause trouble, they divide. And divisions begin with the tongue. Envy, jealousy and even closure. " "Let us pray to the Lord that He might give us the grace, because the strength of the devil, of sin, that pushes us to disunity is so great, so great. Always! That He might give us the grace, that He might give us the gift. And what is the gift that creates unity? The Holy Spirit!! ".