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In the middle of a history of love

· The Pope's Mass at Santa Marta ·

For the Church is not an organization

The Church is a history of love and are the part of it. That is why when you give too much importance to organization, when offices and bureaucracies  assume the dominant place, the Church loses her real substance and risks transforming herself into a non-government organization. That history of love, which Pope Francis referred to during morning mass on Wednesday, 24 April, in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, is the story of the motherhood of the Church. A motherhood, he said, that grows and diffuses through time “and is not yet finished”,  driven not by human force but “by the power of the Holy Spirit”. At the altar with the Pope were, among others, the Cardinals Javier Lozano  Barragán, Bishop Dominique Rey of  Fréjus-Toulon and Bishop Luigi Renzo of  Mileto-Nicotera-Tropea.  Participating in the Mass was were members of the personnel of the Institute of Religious Works.

As usual, the Pope commented on the Readings of the day, taken from the Acts of the Apostles (12:24-13,5) and from the Gospel of John (12:44-50). “The First Reading,” he noted, “starts with the words: 'The word of God continued to spread and grow'.  That is the start of the Church, when it grows and spreads everywhere, around the world”. It is a fact that, he explained, some could measure in purely quantitative terms, wanting in this way to have more “followers” and  to gather more “members” for the enterprise.

Instead “the path that Jesus wanted for his Church,” said the Pontiff, “is another one: it is the path of struggle, the way of the cross, the way of persecution”. And this too makes us think: “but what is this Church? This Church of ours, she seems not to be a human enterprise, but something else”. The answer is yet again in the Gospel, in which Jesus “tells us something that perhaps can enlighten this question: 'Who believes in me, believes not in me but in the One who sent me'”.

“But how does one make the Church grow?” he returned to the questions. The Church does not grow by its own power: its power is “the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, love. The Father sent the Son and the Son gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to grow, to go forward”.

Thus, the Church is not an organization, but “a mother”. And noting that many mothers were present at the mass, Pope Francis spoke directly to them and asked: “what do you feel when someone says: But are you the house organizer?”, anticipating their obvious response: “No, I am the mama! And the Church is the mother”. And we, by the power of the Holy Spirit, “all together, we are one family in the Church who is our mother. This is how you can explain the First Reading: The Word of God continued to spread and grow. That is how she grows. Jesus' words explain this: 'Who believes in me, believes not me but in the One who sent me'. It was the Father who started this history of love”.

“Let us ask the Madonna, who is our Mother,” he finished, “to give us the grace of joy, of spiritual joy to journey through this history of love”.

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