Santa Marta: A Church Isn’t a Supermarket

Pope Francis Pleads for Gratuitousness

© L'Osservatore Romano

A church must not be a “supermarket,” said Pope Francis during the morning Mass he celebrated at Santa Marta Residence in the Vatican, on December 24, 2017. He pleaded for gratuitousness and “God will do the rest.”

In his homily, reported by Vatican Radio, the Holy Father said: “if we enter a church often with sadness; we think of a parish, a Bishop, I don’t know . . . and we don’t know if we are in the House of God or in a supermarket.”

There are “shops there; there is also the list of recompenses for the Sacraments,” he added. “What is lacking is gratuitousness, and God saved us gratuitously; He didn’t make us pay anything.”

There is certainly need of money to maintain the churches and the communities, but <if> “you give gratuitously God will do the rest,” assured the Pontiff. “God will do what is lacking.” Churches must be “churches of service, free churches.”

First Service, then Ornamentations

The Pontiff also invited to protect “God’s temple,” which is “our heart”: “the Holy Spirit dwells in us. But what is going on in our heart? Have I learned to watch over myself, so that the temple of my heart is only that of the Holy Spirit? . . . Are you paying attention, are you paying attention to what is going on in your heart? Who comes, who goes  . . . what feelings do you have, what ideas? Do you speak with the Holy Spirit? Do you listen to the Holy Spirit? . . . Do I know how to protect this temple?”

The Holy Father stressed that it’s about “purifying the temple, the interior temple and of watching . . . To be attentive to what is going on in our temple, in us.”

Jesus is also “present in the sick, in those that suffer, in the hungry, in prisoners.” His is a presence that calls for taking care of this temple “by my service.” “Do I approach to help, to dress, to console those that are in need?”

“Saint John Chrysostom reprimanded those that made many offerings to decorate, to embellish the physical temple and didn’t take care of the needy. He reprimanded them! And he said: “No, that’s not right. First service, then ornamentations.” Therefore, purify the temple which others are,” stressed the Pope.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

 

JF

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