On the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, patrons of the Eternal City, Pope Francis presided over Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Wednesday, June 29. Cardinal Re, Dean of the Sacred College celebrated, but the Successor of Peter gave the homily. The Pope invited the faithful and pastors of the Church to “get up in haste” and “fight the good fight” spiritually, in the footsteps of the two holy apostle martyrs, pillars of the Church.
Drawing on the first reading of the day from the Acts of the Apostles, Pope Francis noted the words of the angel to Peter, incarcerated by King Herod: “Get up quickly» (Ac 12, 7), as well as those of Paul, who, summing up his whole life and apostolate, says: “I fought the good fight(2 Tm 4, 7). In his homily, the Pope thus proposed a meditation on these two aspects, getting up in haste and fighting the good fight, in the light of the current synodal process.
The risk of spiritual mediocrity
The Bishop of Rome first noted that we still experience, today, “many internal resistanceswhich prevent you from moving. Sometimes, as a Church, we are overwhelmed by laziness, he regretted, and we prefer to sit and contemplate the few sure things we have, instead of getting up to look towards new horizons. , towards the open sea.
The Pope recalled that often we are chained like Peter “in the prison of habit”, “frightened by the changes” and “tied to the chains of our customs”, thus sliding towards “spiritual mediocrity“. Then run the risk of “vivote” including in pastoral life. “The enthusiasm for the mission wanes and, instead of being a sign of vitality and creativity, one ends up giving an impression of lukewarmness and inertia.“, denounced the Sovereign Pontiff, citing Father Henri de Lubac whose works he loves.
“Then the great current of newness and life which is the Gospel becomes in our hands a faith which “falls into formalism and habit, […] a religion of ceremonies and devotions, ornaments and vulgar consolations […]. A clerical Christianity, a formal Christianity, an extinct and hardened Christianity» (The drama of atheistic humanism. man before God, Milano 2017, 103-104).
A Church without chains or walls
The Holy Father then referred to the synod in progress, which invites us to become “a Church that stands upright”, and not “folded in on itself“. The Successor of Peter urged “a Church without chains and without walls, in which everyone can feel welcomed and accompanied, in which one cultivates the art of listening, of dialogue, of participation, under the unique authority of the Holy Spirit”. “A free and humble Church, which “rises up in haste”, which does not linger, does not fall behind on current challenges, does not linger within its sacred walls, but which allows itself to be animated by the passion for the proclamation of the Gospel and by the desire to reach everyone and to welcome everyone”.
Everyone has a mission
The Pope then reported the words of Paul who, looking back on his whole life, affirms: “I fought the good fight” (2 Tm 4, 7). In short, that each one accomplish the mission entrusted to him and do his part, summarized Francis, each one is called to be a missionary disciple and to offer his contribution. Two questions were asked by the Pope. The first one: “What can I do for the Church?“Not to complain about the Church, but to commit to the Church, he replied. “Participate with passion and humility: with passion, because we must not remain passive spectators; with humility, because getting involved in the community should never mean taking center stage, feeling better and preventing others from approaching. Synodal Church means: all participate, no one in place of others nor above others“, he explained.
Do not compromise with the logics of the world
But participating also means carrying out the “good fight”according to the Pope, it is indeed a “fight“, because the proclamation of the Gospel is not neutral, it does not leave things as they are, “it does not accept any compromise with the logics of the world”. On the contrary, he said, it kindles the fire of the Kingdom of God where reign the human mechanisms of power, evil, violence, corruption, injustice, marginalization. And then the second question appears:What can we do together as a Church?” “We must certainly not close ourselves in our ecclesial circles and lock ourselves to some of our sterile discussions, but we must help each other to be leaven in the dough of the world”.
“Be careful not to fall into clericalism, which is a perversion”, warned the Pope, inviting, in short, to “to be a Church that promotes the culture of care, compassion for the weak and the fight against all forms of degradation”. The Holy Father has finally urged the newly appointed archbishops present in the assembly to “get up in haste, with Peter,to be watchful sentinels of the herd and “fight the good fight”, with Paul.
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Saints Peter and Paul: Pope urges humble Church, fighting the good fight – Vatican News
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