Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Those who have had the grace to be called by God must avoid the temptation of becoming closed within a "group of privileged ecclesiastical disciples" who forget "the Lord who is hungry, thirsty, who is in prison, who is in hospital". This was Pope Francis warning drawn from Gospel of the blind man of Jericho, read during Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
The blind man, the Pope observed, is the "first-class of people" who populate the Evangelist Luke's account. A man who counted for nothing, but who "wanted salvation", "wanted to be cured," and thus shouts louder than the wall of indifference around him until he overcomes this challenge and manages to knock on the "door of Christ's heart". The man is blocked by the circle of disciples, who want to silence him so as not to disturb anyone and in doing distance "the Lord from the peripheries". "This periphery could not get to the Lord, because this circle - but with the best of intentions - closed the door. And this happens frequently, among us believers: when we find the Lord, without even noticing it, we create this ecclesiastical microclimate. And not just priests and bishops, the faithful too: 'We are the ones on the Lord's side! And yet from spending so much time looking at the Lord, we no longer see what the Lord needs: we do not see that the Lord is hungry, thirsty, in prison, in hospital. The Lord, present in the marginalized. This atmosphere does so much bad".
It is a group that feels chosen - "Now we are elected, we are with the Lord" - and therefore wants to keep "this little world" away from anyone who attempts to "disturb the Lord", even "children". "They had forgotten, had left their first love." "When the faithful, when ministers in the Church, become a group like this ... not ecclesial, but 'ecclesiastical', privileged in their proximity to the Lord, they are tempted to forget their first love, that beautiful love that we all experience when the Lord called us, saved us, told us: 'But I love you so much'. This is the disciples temptation: to forget their first love, that is, forget the margins, where I was before, even if it makes me ashamed".
Then there is the third group on the scene: the "simple people", who praise God for the healing of the blind man. "How often do we find these simple people, so many old ladies who walk and go" even at great personal sacrifice "to pray at a shrine of the Virgin". "They do not ask for privileges, they ask for grace alone." It is the "faithful people", the people "who know how to follow the Lord, without asking for any privileges in return" who are able "to spend time with the Lord" and above all never forget the " marginalized Church " of children, the sick, the imprisoned.
"Let us ask the Lord - concluded the Pope - for the grace that we, who have recieved teh grace of His call, never, never, never distance ourselves from this Church. Never enter this microclimate of the privileged, ecclesiastical disciples, who distance themselves from the Church of God, which suffers, seeks salvation, seeks faith, seeks God's Word. Let us ask for the grace to be faithful to God, without seeking privileges from the Lord, privileges which distances us from God's people".