Vatican City (AsiaNews) -
"The Church is not a religious, cultural or social organization." It
is "Jesus' family" the Church professes that Jesus is the Son of God made
flesh: that is the scandal, and for that they persecuted Jesus." This
is how Pope Francis summed up the sense of the Gospel of today's Mass, which he
celebrated in the chapel of the St. Martha residence this morning. The Eucharist was also
attended by Card. Jaime
Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana and a group of gentlemen of His
The pontiff, according to the Vatican Radio summary, repeatedly urged not to adapt to the "spirit of the world" that shows you appreciate the Church for its social work, or want to "be more reasonable," and instead accept "the scandal of the Cross", which can also lead to persecution.
"How many times do you hear people say: 'But you
Christians, be a bit more normal, like other people: be reasonable!' This is a
speech by snake charmers, to be sure: 'But, be normal, OK? A little more normal, do not be so strict." But behind this is: 'Please,
do not come with [your] tales, [about] God who became man!' The Incarnation of
the Word: that is the scandal behind it! We can do all the social work we want,
and they will say, 'How nice, the Church, what good social work the Church
does'. But if we say that we do this because those people [we help] are the
flesh of Christ, there is scandal. And that is the truth, that is the
revelation of Jesus: that presence of Jesus incarnate."
According to the Pope: "always there will be the [temptation] to do good things without the scandal of the Incarnate Word, without the scandal of the Cross." Instead, we must "be true to this scandal, to this reality that scandalises." It is, "better this way: the coherence of the faith." Pope Francis then said, "It would do us all good to think about this: the Church is not a cultural organisation that [includes] religion and social work.":
"The Church is the family of Jesus" he continued. "The Church confesses that Jesus is the Son of God come in the flesh: that is the scandal, that is the reason why they persecuted Jesus. In the end, [the answer that] Jesus had not wanted to [give] to these, to the question, 'With what authority are you doing this?' He gives to the high priest. 'But, at the end of: Thou art the Son of God? - Yes!' [He was] sentenced to death for that. This is the core of the persecution. If we become "reasonable" Christians, "social" Christians, Christians who only di philanthropy, what will be the consequence? That we will never have martyrs: that will be the consequence."
"We ask the Lord - he concluded - not to be ashamed to live with this scandal of the Cross. [We ask Him for] wisdom: the wisdom to ask not to be trapped by the spirit of the world, that will always make to us polite suggestions, civil proposals, good proposals - but behind those there is precisely the negation of the fact that the Word came in the flesh, of the Incarnation of the Word. That, in the end, is what scandalises those who persecute Jesus, that is what destroys the work of the devil. So be it."