Consecrated people, Pope Francis says, have been persecuted for denouncing attitudes of worldliness, because the evil spirit prefers a riskless and lukewarm Church. … Pope Francis made this observation, as he recalled Chapter 16 of the Acts of the Apostles, and stories of Paul and Silas. Two years after beatification, the Pope remembered the Archbishop of San Salvador. Blessed Oscar Romero was killed by military squadrons linked to the military regime for denouncing violence against the poor.
In his homily, Francis decried how many are persecuted for telling the truth …
“In the Church,” he said, “when someone denounces so many ways of worldliness, he is looked at with crooked eyes."…“Think of the Blessed Romero, right? What happened to tell the truth. And many, many in the history of the Church, even here in Europe. Because? Because the evil spirit prefers a tranquil, risk-free Church, a business church, a comfortable church, in the comfort of warmth, lukewarm. ”…Francis also noted that the bad spirit always comes from the pockets, and lamented when money takes control.
Besides denouncing this corruption, Francis turned to the importance of joyfully announcing Jesus. He stressed the need for joy. “And this is the path of our daily conversion: to move from a worldly, tranquil, safe, Catholic, yes, yes, but cozy, state of life, to the true proclamation of Jesus Christ, to the joy of Christ’s announcement.” “To move from a religion that looks too much on earnings, [to] faith, and proclaiming: “‘Jesus is the Lord.” This, he said, is the miracle that the Holy Spirit does.
Before concluding, Pope Francis highlighted: “A Church without martyrs gives mistrust; A Church that does not risk gives mistrust; A Church that is afraid to announce Jesus Christ and to drive away demons, idols, other ‘lords’, such as money, is not the Church of Jesus.”
(All underlining is mine for emphasis)
We would all do well to ponder the Pope’s words in light of our Baptism – by this sacrament we have been consecrated and called to holiness. It is not only clergy and religious but lay persons too whom God has called to holiness – to live His Life in this world. Jesus told His first disciples, as He tells all of us in His Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7): “You are the Light of the World”. Let us pray for one another and for the Church to let our light shine, as Mary did on this earth. Let us bring Jesus into the world by the power of the Holy Spirit, not physically as Mary did, but spiritually in all we do. May we be willing to risk our lives – rather than be lukewarm; may the Fire of Love burn brightly in every member of the Church.