By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The devil would like to see a
church that never takes any risks, never speaks out with the truth and just
settles on being wishy-washy, comfortable and business-savvy, Pope Francis
God’s prophets always were persecuted because they
created a disturbance, much like those today who denounce worldliness in the
church and get ostracized, the pope said May 23 during a morning Mass in the
chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
However, “a church without martyrs gives rise to
distrust; a church that takes no risks gives rise to distrust; a church that is
afraid to proclaim Jesus Christ and cast out demons, idols and the other lord
that is money is not the church of Jesus,” he said.
The pope’s homily looked at how Paul and Silas ended up
in prison in Philippi after Paul cast a spirit out of a slave girl, and he and
Silas were accused of disturbing the city and promoting unlawful customs.
The day’s first reading (Acts 16:22-34), the pope said,
shows that after helping the possessed girl Paul understood that even though
people in the city accepted Christ’s doctrine, their hearts had not been
converted “because everything stayed quiet” and easy. “It was
not Christ’s church,” he said.
The history of salvation is filled with similar stories,
he said. Whenever the people of God were undisturbed, didn’t take risks or
started serving, “I won’t say idols, but worldliness,” then God would
send a prophet to shake things up.
“In the church when someone denounces many kinds of
worldliness, he or she is given the stink eye, ‘This won’t do, better they be
removed,'” he said.
The pope said he could recall “many, many men and
women, good consecrated (religious), not ideological,” in Argentina who
spoke out about what the church of Jesus was meant to be, but who would be
accused of being communist and sent away and persecuted.
And “think of Blessed (Oscar) Romero, no? What
happened for speaking the truth,” the pope said, referring to the
Salvadoran archbishop who spoke out against poverty, injustice and
disappearances, and was assassinated by a suspected death squad. The one-year
anniversary of his beatification was May 23.
There are many men and women like this in the history of
the church, the pope said, “because the evil spirit prefers a peaceful
church, without risks, a business church, an easy church, in the comfort of
“When the church is lukewarm, tranquil, everything
organized, there are no problems, look where the deals are,” he said,
because the devil always comes in “through the pocket.”
The path of daily conversion requires going from an easy,
carefree life and “a religiosity that looks too much at earnings” to
the joyous proclamation of Jesus Christ as the Lord.
This is how the Lord, “with his martyrs,” moves
the church forward and gives it “renewed youth,” he said.
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