A series of reflections for the parish on Pope Francis’ The Joy of the Gospel
Part 18: Words to Shake Us Up!
“Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and which then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that……….we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: ‘Give them something to eat’” (Mk 6:37).(paragraph 49)
These are Pope Francis’ last words in the first chapter of The Joy of the Gospel. They are powerful and challenging words. They have the power to make us uncomfortable, to shake us in our complacency, and to light a fire in our hearts. And that goes for the pastor as much as anyone else in the parish!
I’m going to wait and not comment further on them just yet. I think it’s important for us to just read and reflect on them in this week. I invite you all to do so with me, asking for this grace:
Jesus, you yourself call and command us as your disciples to feed our brothers and sisters at our door who are starving spiritually and physically. Please show us your will for how our parish can do this better, and give us the love and the courage to follow you…
Fr. Phil Hurley, S.J.