Church is called to be humble, not ‘strut its power,’ pope says

Pope Francis (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Members of the church are called to follow a path of humility that first recognizes one’s sins and not “strut its power and greatness,” Pope Francis said at his early morning Mass.

In his homily Dec. 15 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope said that humility does mean a person must be “listless and lethargic” nor have the habit of looking at the faults of others.

“No, this is not humility, this is theater,” he said. “This is feigning humility. Humility has a first step: ‘I am a sinner.’ If you are not capable of saying to yourself that you are a sinner and that others are better than you, then you are not humble.”

The pope reflected on the day’s reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew in which Jesus rebukes the chief priests and elders of the people, warning that “tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you.”

In order for the church to not fall into the same manner of thinking as the chief priests, the pope said the church must follow three paths: humility, poverty and trust in God.

“The first step of a humble church is to feel like a sinner; the first step for all of us is the same,” he said. “If one of us has the habit of looking at the other’s defects and gossip about it, he is not humble, he thinks he is the judge of others.”

The second path is poverty which, he said, means to be only attached to the riches of God and not of money. The pope recalled the life of St. Lawrence, one of the first seven deacons of Rome who was executed by Emperor Valerian after presenting him with the riches of the church: the poor.

“Poverty is this detachment in order to serve the needy, to serve others,” he said.

Pope Francis explained that in the final step, the church is called to place its trust in God and not in power, friends and money.

“The legacy that God promised to leave us is of a humble and poor people who trust in the name of the Lord,” he said. “Humble because they know they sin; poor because they are attached to the riches of God; trusting in the Lord because they know that only he has their best interests at heart.”

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