Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - The Church "is not a shop, a humanitarian agency , an NGO , the Church , like Mary, is sent to bring all people to Christ and his Gospel , this is the Church: she does not bring herself, big or small, strong or weak, she brings Jesus". "This is how the Church must be, this is the center of the Church. If once, hypothetically speaking, the Church fails to bring Jesus , that's a dead church ."
Continuing catechesis on the
Church, Pope Francis spoke today of "Mary image of the Church "
following the affirmation in Lumen Gentium : "the mother of God is the
figure of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with
Christ " .
There were almost 100 thousand people present in St Peter's Square for the audience and as has become tradition the Pope toured among them at length in his open topped jeep, blessing , kissing children and shaking hands . Today he also signed an autograph for a young man, apparently Japanese and climbed down from the jeep to hug and greet an old woman in a wheelchair. Greeting him as he climbed the steps of the walk front of the basilica were a group of standard bearers from Siena.
The Pope began with Mary as a model of faith. "We think about who the Virgin Mary was: a Jewish girl, who was waiting with all her heart for the redemption of her people. But in that heart of a young daughter of Israel there was a secret that she still did not know: in the design of God's love she was destined to become the Mother of the Redeemer . "From the moment in which she answers "yes" to the angel", the faith of Mary receives a new light : it focuses on Jesus , the Son of God who took flesh from her and in whom promises are fulfilled in the entire history of salvation . Mary's faith is the fulfillment of Israel's faith, the entire journey, the entire journey of the people of faith, waiting for the redemption is concentrated in her, and in this sense she is the model of faith of the Church , which is centered on Christ , the incarnation of the infinite love of God".
Mary lived this faith "in the simplicity of the thousand daily occupations and concerns of every mother, how to provide food, clothing, household care ... ". Her "yes", "already perfect in the beginning, grew until the hour of the Cross. And there her motherhood spread embracing each of us, our life , to lead us to her Son . Mary has always lived surrounded by the mystery of God made man, as his first and perfect disciple , pondering in her heart everything in the light of the Holy Spirit, to understand and put into practice God's will. We can ask ourselves a question : do we let ourselves be enlightened by the faith of Mary, who is our Mother ? Or do we think her far too different from us? In times of difficulty, trial, darkness, do we look to her as a model of trust in God, who wants to always and only our good? Think about it. Perhaps we would do well to see Mary as a model and figure of the Church in the faith that she had".
For the second aspect of "Mary,
model of charity," the Pope pointed to "her care for her cousin Elizabeth
. Visiting her, the Virgin Mary not only brought material help, too, but took
Jesus , who was already living in
her womb. Bringing Jesus to that house meant to bring joy, full joy. Zechariah
and Elizabeth were happy for a pregnancy that seemed impossible at their age,
but it is the young Mary who brings their full joy, that which comes from Jesus
and the Holy Spirit , and is expressed in charity freely given, sharing,
helping, understanding". "The
Madonna wants to bring to us, to all of us , the great gift that is Jesus, and
He leads us with his love , his peace, his joy. So the Church is like
Mary," it brings Jesus.
"And we are the Church , but each of us, What is the love we bear others? Is it the love of Jesus , sharing , forgiving , which accompanies, or is it a diluted love? When wine is diluted so it seems like water. I this how we love or is it a strong or weak love that follows trends, which seeks something in exchange? A love that seeks its own interests". "Love must be love free , as was the His love. How are the relationships in our parishes, in our communities ? Do we treat others as brothers and sisters or do we judge , speak evil of one another ? But I 've heard that here in Rome nobody speaks ill of others, and is that true? ' I do not know . I say it is. Do we take care of our own ' backyard ' or that of others? These are questions of charity".
"The life of every ecclesial community - concluded the Pope - should be reflected in the model of Mary Mother of the Church ."