To be faithful servants, you can’t be stingy with your time, but give it generously even at the most inconvenient moments.
Pope Francis urged deacons to realize this during the concluding Mass of the Jubilee for Deacons in St. Peter’s Square this morning.
This specific Jubilee is a celebration for deacons, along with their wives and children, in Rome, May 27-29. They were invited from all around the world to make this pilgrimage to the Eternal City on the occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
In his homily, the Pontiff reflected on what makes one a faithful servant, noting three elements: availability, meekness, and having a ‘healthy heart.’
“One who serves is not a slave to his own agenda, but ever ready to deal with the unexpected, ever available to his brothers and sisters and ever open to God’s constant surprises. One who serves is open to surprises, to God’s constant surprises,” the Pope stressed.
Even if it means giving up well-deserved rest or what you enjoy doing, Francis underscored, “a servant knows how to open the doors of his time and inner space for those around him, even at odd hours.”
“One who serves is not worried about the timetable,” Francis said off the cuff. “It deeply troubles me when I see a timetable in a parish: “From such a time to such a time”. And then? There is no open door, no priest, no deacon, no layperson to receive people… This is not good.
“Don’t worry about the timetable: have the courage to look past the timetable.”
A servant, the Pope highlighted, learns each day how to detach himself from doing everything his own way and living his life as he otherwise would. “One who serves cannot hoard his free time; he has to give up the idea of being the master of his day,” he said.
He told the deacons that if they show they are available to others, their ministry “will not be self-serving, but evangelically fruitful.”
Turning to meekness, Francis reminded Deacons to imitate the Lord himself, who is “meek and humble of heart” and Who lived to serve. Similarly, like Jesus, the Pope urged, be patient, kind and present.
“These are the characteristics of Christian service; meek and humble, it imitates God by serving others: by welcoming them with patient love and unflagging sympathy, by making them feel welcome and at home in the ecclesial community, where the greatest are not those who command but those who serve (cf. Lk 22:26).”
In meekness, the Pope stressed, is how deacons’ vocation as ministers of charity mature.
Being ready to serve, he also noted, requires a healthy heart: “a heart healed by God, one which knows forgiveness and is neither closed nor hardened.”
The Pope encouraged them to pray daily to be healed by Jesus and to grow more like Him.
“You can offer the Lord your work, your little inconveniences, your weariness and your hopes in an authentic prayer that brings your life to the Lord and the Lord to your life,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded, reminded the deacons that by putting these three elements into practice, they will become and remain effective servants of Christ, able to encounter and help those most in need.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Pope’s Angelus Address: https://zenit.org/articles/angelus-address-lets-pray-with-syrian-children-for-peace/
On the NET:
More Information on the Jubilee for Deacons: http://www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va/content/gdm/en/roma/grandi-eventi/2016-05-29-diaconi.html