Pope: the Gospel must be "proclaimed in poverty", otherwise, the Church becomes an NGO, "powerful, but not evangelical"
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Gospel must be "proclaimed in poverty" because "salvation is not a theology of prosperity". It is only, and nothing else, the "good news" of liberation brought to all of the oppressed. However, if "apostolic zeal" is lacking and if we place our hope in these means alone, the Church will slowly slip into becoming another NGO, a beautiful organization: powerful, but not evangelical", said Pope Francis at Mass this morning in Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the passage of the Gospel of the day when Jesus sends his disciples out two by two in the villages to preach, heal the sick and drive out "unclean spirits" .
The Pope contemplated Jesus' description of the attitude his disciples must have as he sends them out among the people: people with no frills attached "no food, no sack, no money in their belts" he tells them - and this is because the Gospel, "must be proclaimed in poverty" because "salvation is not a theology of prosperity". It is only, and nothing else, the "good news" of liberation brought to all who are oppressed: "This is the mission of the Church: the Church that heals, that cares [for people]. I sometimes describe the Church as a field hospital. True, there are many wounded, how many wounded! How many people who need their wounds to be healed! This is the mission of the Church: to heal the wounded hearts, to open doors, to free [people], to say that God is good, God forgives all, that God is our Father, God is tender, that God is always waiting for us".
Pope Francis warned that distracting attention from the essential nature of this proclamation creates the risk of misrepresenting the Church's mission and emptying all of her efforts to alleviate the various forms of misery of the only thing that counts: Bringing Christ to the poor, the blind, the prisoners: "It's true, we have to help and create organizations that help in this: yes, because the Lord gives us the gifts for this. But when we forget this mission, forget poverty, forget the apostolic zeal and instead, place our hope in these [human] means, the Church slowly slips into becoming an NGO, it becomes a beautiful organization: Powerful, but not evangelical, because it lacks that spirit, that poverty, that power to heal".
Pope Francis concluded that the disciples return "happy" from their mission and so Jesus took them with him "to rest for a while". However, Francis emphasizes"... He does not say to them: 'How great you are great, now on your next mission you should be better organized ...'. Only: 'When you have done all you have to do, say to yourself:' We are useless servants'. This is the apostle. And what would be the most beautiful praise for an apostle? 'He was a worker of the Kingdom, a worker of the Kingdom'. This is the greatest praise, because it means he has chosen Jesus' path of proclamation: He goes to heal, to safeguard, to proclaim this good news and this year of grace. So that people rediscover the Father, to foster peace in the hearts of the people".