In his Tuesday morning Mass, Pope Francis explained why the Church is a mother. He said that when the Church closes in on itself, it stops reaching out to others.
"A Church can be well organized, with a perfect programming chart, where everything is tidy. But if she lacks joy, she lacks peace, and so she becomes a disheartened Church, that's anxious, sad. A Church that seems more like a spinster than a mother. This kind of Church doesn’t work. It becomes a Church museum.”
The Pope then called on Christians to offer mercy and help those in need.
SUMMARY OF HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)
"Open the doors to the consolation of the Lord.” In this passage, which served as the starting point for the Pope’s homily, Isaiah is speaking about the end of the tribulation of Israel after the Babylonian exile. "The people,” Pope Francis said, "have need of consolation. The very presence of the Lord consoles [them].” It is one consolation that is with them even in tribulation. And yet, he warned, "we usually flee from consolation; we have no confidence; we are more comfortable in our stuff, we are more comfortable even in our failures, in our sins.” This, he said, "is our country.” On the other hand, the Pope continued, "when the Spirit comes, consolation comes as well, and bears us to another state that we cannot control: this is precisely abandonment in the consolation of the Lord.”
Pope Francis emphasized that "the greatest consolation is that of mercy and forgiveness.” He then turned his thoughts to Ezekiel, chapter 16, when, after so many sins of the people, our Lord says, "I will never abandon you; I will give you more; this will be my revenge: consolation and pardon.” This, the Pope said, is our God.” For this reason, he said, "it is good to repeat: allow yourselves to be consoled by the Lord; He alone can console us.” And we should do so even if "we are used to ‘renting’ small consolations of our own making,” but that simply "doesn’t work.”
The Holy Father then spoke about the parable of the lost sheep, from the day’s Gospel:
"I ask myself, what is the consolation of the Church? Just as an individual is consoled when he feels the mercy and forgiveness of the Lord, the Church rejoices and is happy when she goes out of herself. In the Gospel, the pastor who goes out goes to seek the lost sheep – he could keep accounts like a good businessman. [He could say]: ‘Ninety-nine sheep, if I lose one, it’s no problem; the balance sheet – gains and losses. But it’s fine, we can get by.’ No, he has the heart of a shepherd, he goes out and searches for [the lost sheep] until he finds it, and then he rejoices, he is joyful.
"The joy of going out to seek the brothers and sisters who are far off: This is the joy of the Church. Here the Church becomes a mother, becomes fruitful”.