Manifest Christ in all you do…
Pope Francis gave this heartfelt advice during the Mass over which he presided at the Enrique Olaya Herrera airport of Medellin, Sept. 9, 2017, during his five day Apostolic Visit to Colombia, Sept. 6-11.
Reflecting on the ‘The Christian Life as Discipleship,’ the Jesuit Pope reminded that the disciples’ journey of following Jesus involved a great work of purification, and that in trying to understand ‘What would God like us to do?,’ at times meant trusting Him and following demands much greater than following old ways or norms.
“This is what He wants for us, to follow him in such a way as to: go to what is essential, be renewed, and get involved.
These are three attitudes, Francis said, that must form our lives as disciples.
Attitude 1: Going to what is essential.
“This,” Francis noted, “does not mean ‘breaking with everything’ that does not suit us, because Jesus did not come “to abolish the law, but to fulfil it” (Mt 5:17); it means to go deep, to what matters and has value for life.”
Jesus teaches that our relationship with God, Francis observed, requires a change of life. Our discipleship, he said, cannot simply be motivated by custom “because we have a baptismal certificate.”
“Discipleship must begin with a living experience of God and his love. It is not something static, but a continuous movement towards Christ; it is not simply the fidelity to making a doctrine explicit, but rather the experience of the Lord’s living, kindly and active presence, an ongoing formation by listening to his word.”
Attitude 2: Being Renewed
As Jesus “shook” the doctors of the law to break them free of their rigidity, now also the Church is “shaken” by the Spirit in order to lay aside comforts and attachments.
“We should not be afraid of renewal,” Francis said.
“The Church always needs renewal – Ecclesia semper reformanda,” the Pope said. “She does not renew herself on Her own whim, but rather does so ‘firm in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the Gospel’ (Col 1:23). Renewal entails sacrifice and courage, not so that we can consider ourselves superior or flawless, but rather to respond better to the Lord’s call.”
Attitude 3: Getting Involved
“Even if it may seem that you are getting yourself dirty or stained, get involved,” Francis said, noting that today we are called upon to be brave and have evangelical courage.
“We cannot be Christians who continually put up ‘do not enter’ signs, nor can we consider that this space is mine or yours alone, or that we can claim ownership of something that is absolutely not ours. The Church is not ours, she is God’s; He is the owner of the temple and the field; everyone has a place, everyone is invited to find here, and among us, his or her nourishment.”
Church in Colombia
The Church in Colombia, Pope Francis said, is called to commit itself, with greater boldness, to forming missionary disciples.
“I have come here precisely to confirm you in the faith and hope of the Gospel. Remain steadfast and free in Christ, in such a way that you manifest him in everything you do; take up the path of Jesus with all your strength, know Him, allow yourselves to be called and taught by Him, and proclaim Him with great joy.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying that through the intercession of Our Mother, Our Lady of Candelaria, “she may accompany us on our path of discipleship, so that, giving our lives to Christ, we may simply be missionaries who bring the light and joy of the Gospel to all people.”
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