Pope Francis says that despite our tendency to sin and place ourselves first, God always is there for his people, ready to forgive and give them a fresh start.
Addressing thousands of pilgrims and tourists gathered in a sunny St. Peter’s square at today’s weekly Audience, the Holy Father reminded those present that “while we, the members of the Church, are sinners, the unity and holiness of the Church arise from God and call us daily to conversion.”
Noting we are “fragile,” our faith “pushes us to conversion, to have the courage to live daily unity and holiness that come from God. Jesus Christ is the source of our unity and holiness, and if we are not united, if we are not saints, it is because we are not faithful to Him.
“Yet he does not leave us alone, does not abandon his Church!” he said.
“In Jesus,” he said, “we have an intercessor,” one “who prays, especially in his passion for our unity with him and the Father, and with each other.”
In spite of this, we continue to “place ourselves at the center,” which leads to sins against unity, such as “jealousy,” “envy,” and “antipathy,” even within our parish communities.
This is human, the Pope admitted, but “this is not the Church”. It happens both “when we put ourselves” and “personal ambitions” first, and when we judge and look at the “faults” of other others, rather than their “skills.” It happens when “we give more weight to what divides us rather than what unites us.”
In the Creed, Francis recalled, we affirm that the Church is one and that she is holy.
“One,” he noted, because she has her origin in the Triune God, mystery of unity and full communion.
Holy, he added, since the Church is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his Holy Spirit, and filled with his love and salvation.
“God’s will, however,” the Pope said, “is that we grow in our capacity to welcome one another, to forgive and to love, and to resemble Jesus.”
This, he continued, is the holiness of the Church, to recognize the image of God in one another.
That Jesus prayed so much for the unity of his disciples should give us comfort, the Holy Father said, noting he did so “on the eve of the Passion, when he was about to offer his life for us.”
Since the Church is “one body,” Francis said the faithful must stop gossiping and being jealous.
“In the face of all this,” he said, speaking on the third, “we must make a serious examination of conscience because division is one of the most serious sins” and “it is not a sign of God’s work.”
Rather, the Pontiff said, division comes from the devil, “who is by definition the one that separates” and “ruin relationships.”
Pope Francis concluded by calling on those gathered to examine their consciences and ask forgiveness, and to instead cultivate relationships which “mirror more beautifully and joyfully, the unity of Jesus and the Father.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/on-the-dangers-of-parish-sins