During his Thursday morning homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis touched on one of the central themes of his pontificate. He called on Christians to be inclusive with all people, as Jesus was.
"The attitude of the Scribes and the Pharisees is the same, they exclude. They say, ‘We are the perfect, we follow the law. These people are sinners, they are tax collectors’; and the attitude of Jesus is to include. There are two paths in life: the path exclusion of persons from our community and the path of inclusion.”
The Pope took his message one step further. He said that Christians must be willing to include anyone, even if it provokes resistance. He added that it's important to remember all people will stand before God for judgment.
EXTRACTS FROM THE POPE'S HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)
"The attitude of the Scribes and the Pharisees is the same, they exclude. They say, ‘We are the perfect, we follow the law. These people are sinners, they are ax collectors’; and the attitude of Jesus is to include. There are two paths in life: the path of exclusion of persons from our community and the path of inclusion. The first can be little but is the root of all wars: all calamities, all wars, begin with an exclusion. One is excluded from the international community, but also from families, from friends – How many fights there are! – and the path that makes us see Jesus and teaches us Jesus is quite another, it is contrary to the other: to include.”
"They are full of joy because they have found what was lost and they go to their neighbours, their friends, because they are so happy: ‘I found, I included.’ This is the ‘including’ of God, against the exclusion of those who judge, who drive away people, persons: ‘No, no to this, no to that, no to that…’; and a little of circle of friends is created, which is their environment. It is a dialectic between exclusion and inclusion. God has included us all in salvation, all! This is the beginning. We with our weaknesses, with our sins, with our envy, jealousies, we all have this attitude of excluding which – as I said – can end in wars.”
"We think a little bit, and at least – at least! – we do our little part, we never judge: ‘But this one has acted in this way…’ But God knows: it is his life, but I don’t exclude him from my heart, from my prayer, from my greeting, from my smile, and if the occasion arises I say a good word to him. Never excluding, we have no right! And how Paul finishes the Letter: ‘We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God . . . then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.’ If I exclude I will one day stand before the judgment seat of God, I will have to give an account of myself to God. Let us ask the grace of being men and women who always include, always, always! in the measure of healthy prudence, but always. Not closing the doors to anyone, always with an open heart: ‘It pleases me, it displeases me,’ but the heart is open. May the Lord grant us this grace.”