2013-04-24 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) The Church is not a bureaucratic organization, but a love story. This was Pope Francis’ message during Wednesday’s Mass in the Chapel of the Casa Santa Marta.
Attending the Mass this morning were employees of the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly called the Vatican bank. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father.
The day’s readings tell the story of the growth of the first Christian community. In his homily, the Pope warned against being tempted to make "deals" simply to get "more partners in this enterprise."
Instead, he said, “the road that Jesus willed for His Church is otherwise: the way of difficulties, the way of the Cross, the way of persecution . . . And this makes us wonder: what is this Church? Because it seems it is not a human enterprise."
The Church, he said, is "something else." The disciples do not make the Church – they are the messengers sent by Jesus. And Christ was sent by the Father: “The Church begins there,” he said, “in the heart of the Father, who had this idea . . . of love. So this love story began, a story that has gone on for so long, and is not yet ended. We, the women and men of the Church, we are in the middle of a love story: each of us is a link in this chain of love. And if we do not understand this, we have understood nothing of what the Church is."
The temptation is to focus on the growth of the Church without taking the path of love: "But the Church does not grow by human strength. Some Christians have gone wrong for historical reasons, they have taken the wrong path, they have raised armies, they have waged wars of religion: that is another story, that is not the story of love. Yet we learn, with our mistakes, how the story of love goes. But how does it increase? Jesus said simply: like the mustard seed, it grows like yeast in the flour, without noise."
A head of state once asked how big the Pope’s army was. The Church does not increase “through military might”, said Pope Francis, but through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is because the Church is not just another organisation: “she is Mother” he said. The Pope commented on the number of mothers present at the Mass. “How would you feel,” he asked, “if someone said: she’s a domestic administrator? 'No, I am the mother!' And the Church is Mother. And we are in the middle of a love story that continues thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit. All of us together are a family in the Church, who is our Mother."
The Pope concluded his reflection with a prayer to Mary, asking that she might "give us the grace of the spiritual joy of participating in this love story."