11/05/2013, 00.00
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Pope: being Christian is "a joyful invitation open to all" but demands "total commitment"

Christians are invited to joy, the joy of salvation, the joy of being redeemed, the joy of sharing life with Jesus. "Entering the Church means participating with all that we have; the virtues, the qualities that the Lord has given us, in service to each other". And "being open to what the Lord Jesus asks of us ."

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - Becoming part of the Church is a "grace ", "an invitation to celebration" that God intended for all , "good and bad " . It is a "free" invitation,  which "cannot be paid for" and Christians "are invited to joy, the joy of salvation, the joy of being redeemed, the joy of sharing life with Jesus".

The Christian essence seen as an invitation to celebration was the theme illustrated by Pope Francis at Mass this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. And we must "fully participate" at the Lord's celebration, and with everyone, we cannot pick and choose. Christians, however, are not content to just "be on the guest list", it takes a "total participation ", otherwise it's like "being left out" of the celebration.

"First of all - the Pope said - the essence of Christianity is an invitation: we become Christians only if we are invited". "You can not pay" to take part in this celebration; "you're invited or you can not enter". If "in our consciousness we do not have the certainty of being invited" then "we do not understand what a Christian is":

"A Christian is someone who is invited . Invited to what? To a store? Invited to take a walk ? The Lord wants to tell us something more, 'You 're invited to celebrate! ' . A Christian is one who is invited to celebrate, the joy , the joy of your salvation , the joy of being redeemed , the joy of sharing life with Jesus This is a joy! You are invited to celebrate! Obviously, a party is a gathering of people talking, laughing , celebrating, they are happy . But it is a gathering of people. Among normal people, mentally normal people, I have never seen someone partying alone , right? But it would be a bit 'boring! Opening a the bottle of wine ... this is not a party, it is another thing. You celebrate with the other people, you celebrate with family, you celebrate with friends, with people who have been invited , as I have been invited . To be a Christian you need a membership and you belong to this body, to these people who have been invited to celebrate: this is Christian belonging".

Recalling the Letter to the Romans, the Pope then said that this celebration is a "celebration of unity" : everyone is invited , "good and bad " . And the first to be called are the marginalized. "The Church is not the Church just for good people. Do you want to say who the Church belongs to, who this celebration is for? Sinners, all of us sinners we were invited . And what do you do here ? Make a community , which has different gifts: one has the gift of prophecy, the other ministry, here is a teacher .... everybody has a quality, a virtue. But the celebration means bringing what I have in common with the others ... we must participate, participate fully in this celebration. We can not understand Christian life without this participation.  It is the participation of all of us . ' I'm going to the party, but I will stay in the first room with the three or four people I know...and the others? This can not be done in the Church! Either you come for everyone or you stay outside! You can not pick and choose, the Church is for everyone, beginning with as I said , the most marginalized. It is the Church of all".

It is "the Church of the invited". "Being invited to be involved in a community with everyone." But in Jesus' parable, we read that the guests, one after the other, begin to find excuses not to go to the celebration: "They did not accept the invitation! They say yes, but they did not come." "They are Christians who are content to be on the guest list". This "is not enough " , because you will only be Christian if you take part! "You will be in the list, but this is not enough for your salvation ! This is the Church : to enter the Church is a gift , it is an invitation to enter the Church ." And something that "you can not buy." "Becoming part of the Church means making a community; the community of the Church; being part of the Church means taking part in all that we have; the virtues, the qualities which the Lord has given us, in service to each other". " Entering the Church is to be open to what the Lord Jesus asks of us ." Ultimately, "the Church is entering into this People of God, walking toward eternity". "No one is the protagonist in the Church, however there is One" who has done it all. God "is the protagonist ! " All of us are "behind Him and those who are not behind him, are those who makes his excuses" and does not take part in the celebration.

"The Lord is very generous. The Lord opens all the doors. The Lord even understands those who say, ' No, Lord , I will not go to you! ' . He understands and is waiting for him , because he is merciful . But the Lord does not like those who say 'yes ' and means 'no' ; pretending to thank him for so many beautiful things, but in reality goes his own way, who has good manners , but does his own will and not that of Lord, those who always make excuses, those who do not know the joy, who do not experience the joy of belonging . Let us ask the Lord for this grace to understand how beautiful it is to be invited to the celebration, to be with everyone and share our qualities with all, how good it is to be with Him and how bad it is to play with ' yes ' and means ' no' , say ' yes ' , but be content only to a guest list Christian".


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