VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Beware of the devil, who wants a jealous, power-hungry and divided church, Pope Francis said.
Be open to the Holy Spirit, who brings unity and harmony, and who pushes people to focus fully on Christ, the pope said April 29 during his homily at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
The pope’s morning homily reflected on the day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles (4:32-37), which describes the early Christian community as being made up of believers who were “of one heart and mind,” who “bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,” and who distributed their assets “to each according to need.”
Pope Francis said the passage describes what every Christian community — including parishes and dioceses — should model and aspire to: “peace, witness, poverty and taking care of the poor.”
A community of peace, forgiveness and harmony means “there’s no place for gossip, jealousy, back-stabbing and slander,” he said, according to a report by Vatican Radio.
To see how a community measures up to what Christ wants, look at how its members behave, he said. “Are they meek, humble? Are there battles among them over power? Jealous arguments? Is there gossip? They are not on the road of Jesus Christ,” he said.
A peaceful, harmonious community is “very, very important,” he said, “because the devil is always trying to divide us. He is the father of division.”
The second important characteristic of a Christian community is its dedication to giving witness to the risen Christ, he said.
“Does this parish, this community, this diocese really believe that Jesus Christ is risen?” or do people only believe it with their head and not their heart? he asked. “To give witness that Jesus is living, he is among us — this is the way you can verify how a community is doing.”
The third aspect of a Christian community is its members’ “poverty of spirit” — that they put their trust in God and not riches and power, he said.
This is what Jesus meant when he told Nicodemus that “you must be born from above” and born of the Holy Spirit, the pope said.
When it comes to peace, witness and a concern for the poor, “the only one who can do this is the Spirit. This is the work of the Spirit,” he said.
The Holy Spirit creates unity, “the Spirit pushes us to give witness,” the pope said. “The Spirit makes you poor because he is the richness and he makes it so you care for the poor.”
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103