I welcome everyone. I thank Cardinal Tagle for his words; he has led me to digress somewhat from what has been prepared… They are God’s surprises, which help us to realize that all our plans, all our thoughts and so many things, before the living Word of God, the living Word, of the Living God, fall. They fall, they crumble. When a Church closes in on herself and forgets that she has been sent, that she has been dispatched to proclaim the Gospel, that is, the Good News, to move hearts with *Kerygma *— well said by the Cardinal — she grows old. Another thing the Cardinal said: she becomes weak. And I would also add two things: she gets sick and she dies.
***I prefer a Church injured in an accident to a Church sick from being closed in on herself.
there is an open invitation to exercise an intense commitment to ensure the central role of the Word of God in ecclesial life, by promoting biblical reading throughout the pastoral ministry. We must ensure that in the usual activities of every Christian community, in parishes, in associations and movements, there actually be at heart the personal encounter with Christ who communicates himself to us in his Word,***
These words were never more needed. A church closed in on itself, in which ritual is done for the sake of ritual, where ecclesial law takes precedence over the law of love and where the written word of God is treated as something to be understood rather than Christ communicating himself to us in a most imtimate way is a Church “closed in on herself.”
Paul took risks to communicate the Gospel to people all over the known world and was severely injured - bitten by snakes, shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, left for dead. He could have stayed in Damascus or Phillipi or Corinth and been comfortable but he took the risk, paid a price but spread the Gospel. He is the model for the Church and for each of us.