The Church, Pope Francis says, must be three things: humble, poor and trusting in the Lord.
The Pontiff stressed this during his daily morning Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta, reported Vatican Radio, noting that the Church’s mission is in following the Beatitudes, and that its riches are in the poor.
Reflecting on the first reading from the Book of Zephaniah in which Jesus rebukes the chief priests and warns them that even prostitutes will precede them into the Kingdom of Heaven, Pope Francis observed that still today temptations can corrupt the witness of the Church.
“A Church that is truly faithful to the Lord,” Francis said, “must be humble, poor and trusting in God”.
To be a humble Church or a humble person, the Jesuit explained, one must be prepared to say: “I am a sinner.” Humility, Francis underscored, is not “a pretense” or “theatrical attitude.”
True humility demands that the Church and every one of us takes a first step and recognizes one’s sinfulness, and is not “judgmental, pointing to the defects of others and gossiping about them.”
Poverty, which “is the first of the Beatitudes,” Francis noted, is the second step. To be poor in spirit, he explained, means that one is “attached only to the riches of God.”
Given this, he added, we must say “no to a Church that is attached to money, that thinks of money, that thinks of how to earn money.”
The Pope recalled the martyrdom of the Deacon Lawrence, an heroic witness in the first millennium who assembled the poor before the emperor saying they represented the real gold and silver of the Church, and he warned against some ancient customs which demanded monetary offers from pilgrims in order to pass through the Holy Door.
“As is known,” the Holy Father mentioned, “in a temple of the diocese, to pass through the Holy Door, naively they said to people that you had to make an offer: this is not the Church of Jesus, this is the Church of these chiefs priests, attached to money.”
Trusting in God
The third step for this humble Church, Pope Francis said, is to always trust in the Lord that never disappoints.
“Where is my faith? In power, in friends, in money? It is in the Lord! The legacy that God promised to leave us is of a humble and poor people who trust in the name of the Lord. Humble because it knows it sins; poor because it is attached to the riches of God; trusting in the Lord because it knows that only He has its good at heart,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded with the prayer, that “as we prepare for Christmas,” we have “a humble heart, a poor heart, a heart that trusts in the Lord who never disappoints.”