Pope: the Kingdom of God is not to be reduced to a "tiny church", the gospel is for everyone
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Goodness of God "knows no boundaries or discrimination, everyone is given the opportunity to respond to His invitation, to His call and no one has the right to feel privileged or make an exclusive claim. We must overcome the habit of positioning ourselves comfortably in the middle, like the chief priests and the Pharisees, instead we must open ourselves up to the peripheries, recognizing that even those who are on the margins are the object of God's generosity. We are all called not to reduce the Kingdom of God to within the boundaries of a 'tiny church', that does not help, but to broaden the Church to the dimensions of the Kingdom of God", said Pope Francis before the Angelus.
The pontiff was commenting on the Gospel that recounts the King's invitation to a wedding feast: "The invitation has three characteristics: gratuity, breadth and universality. Many are invited, but something amazing happens : none of the chosen ones accept to take part in the feast, they say they have other plans, and indeed some show indifference, alienation, even annoyance. God is good to us, gratuitously offering us His friendship, His joy, salvation, but often we do not accept His gifts".
However, due to the first guests rejection, "He is not discouraged, He does not cancel the party, but extends His invitation beyond all reasonable limits and sends His servants into the streets and to the crossroads to gather all those they find. These are ordinary people, the poor, abandoned and destitute, even good and bad, even bad people are invited, without distinction. And the room is full of 'excluded'. The Gospel, rejected by some, is unexpectedly welcome in so many other hearts".
The goodness of God, in fact, knows no boundaries and does not discriminate against anyone, everyone is given the opportunity to respond to His invitation, to His call, and "no one has the right to feel privileged or make an exclusive claim. All this induces us to overcome the habit of positioning ourselves comfortably in the middle, like the chief priests and the Pharisees: this should not be done. We need to open ourselves to the periphereies, recognizing that even those who are on the margins, even those who are despised and rejected by society, are the object God's generosity. We are all called not to reduce the Kingdom of God within the confines of "our small church", our but to expand the Church to the dimensions of the Kingdom of God".
Before the Marian prayer, the Pope entrusted to the intercession of Mary Most Holy, "the tragedies and hopes of so many of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because of their faith, and invoke Her protection over the work of the Synod of Bishops meeting in these days in the Vatican. "
Immediately after the recitation of the Angelus, Francis recalled the beatification of Fr. Francesco Zirano, who died for refusing to renounce his faith: "We give thanks to God for this priest and martyr, heroic witness of the Gospel. His courageous fidelity to Christ is an act of great eloquence, especially in the context of ruthless persecution against Christians".
Finally, a thought for the terrible floods in Genoa: "At this time, our thoughts go out to the city of Genoa, once again hit hard by floods. I assure you of my prayers for the victims and for those who have suffered serious damage. May Our Lady of the Guard support the dear people of Genoa in collective efforts to overcome the ordeal [the Pope then led the crowd in the recitation of a Hail Mary]