Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Church always keeps its doors open. "It is Jesus' home and Jesus welcomes" everyone. Christian communities cannot keep their "doors closed," said Pope Francis in this morning's Mass at Domus Sanctæ Marthæ.
The starting point of his homily was Prophet Ezekiel's description of the trickle of water that emerges from the temple's entrance, which turns into a raging torrent in which anyone can heal himself or herself: "The water that heals".
Near the water of the pool of Bethesda, described in the Gospel, lies a sadness-filled man, paralysed for 38 years, who is a bit "lazy" according to Francis for he has never found the way to have himself immersed in the moving waters and thus healed. Instead, Jesus heals him and encourages him to "go on", but this triggers the criticism of the doctors of the law because the healing took place on a Saturday. Such a "story" occurs "many times" even today.
"A man, a woman, who feels sick in the soul, sad, who made many mistakes in life, at a certain time feels that the waters are moving - the Holy Spirit is moving something - or they may hear a word or . . . - 'Ah, I want to go!' - . . . And they gather up their courage and go. How many times will they find closed doors in Christian communities today!"
"'But you cannot, no, you cannot [come in]. You have sinned and you cannot [come in]. If you want to come, come to Mass on Sunday, but that is it - that is all you can do.' So, what the Holy Spirit creates in people's hearts, the Christians with the mind-set of 'doctors of the law' destroy."
"This hurts me," the pope noted because the Church, he added, always keeps its doors open. "It is Jesus' home and Jesus welcomes [everyone]. But not only does He welcome, He goes out to see people just as He went out to find this man. And if people are hurt, what does Jesus do? Scold them because they are hurt? No, He comes and He carries them on His shoulders. This is called mercy. When God rebukes his people - 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice!' - He is talking about this."
"Who are you," asked the pope, "who shut the door of your heart to a man, a woman, who wants to improve, to return to the people of God because the Holy Spirit has stirred his or her heart?"
"We call upon the Lord today, in the Mass," Francis said in concluding, "for us, for each of us and for the whole Church, a conversion to Jesus, a conversion to Jesus, a conversion to the mercy of Jesus. This way, the Law will be fully realised, for the Law is to love God and our neighbour as ourselves."