Discovering "Joy in the Gospel" - Daily Reflection

November 6: A Church for the dirty

The other pair of images Pope Francis uses to describe the Church, in the passage entitled “A mother with an open heart,” involves the idea of being out in the world, rather than being confined to sacristy or convent. “Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”

This remarkable reminder comes right after the paragraph where the Pope speaks of the people the Church should first minister to. “But to whom should she go first? When we read the Gospel we find a clear indication: not so much our friends and wealthy neighbours, but above all the poor and the sick, those who are usually despised and overlooked, ‘those who cannot repay you’ (Lk 14:14).” He adds, for good measure: “We have to state, without mincing words, that there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them.”

So the idea, the image, of a Church “bruised, hurting and dirty” emerges out of that “clear indication,” that “inseparable bond,” that conviction, as Benedict XVI phrased it, that “the poor are the privileged recipients of the Gospel.”

The opposite of the dirty Church—dirty because it has been out on the streets, among the poor—is the pale, wan Church, cooped up inside the kumbento, content with the status quo. Part of the reason Pope Francis has embraced the new evangelization is the need to end this scandal of complacency. “If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life.”

An open-door Church, a bruised and dirty Church—that is the community of faith they need.

November 5: “Our church doors should always be open”

“The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open ..."

November 4: Disoriented in the Spirit

“It is true that this trust in the unseen can cause us to feel disoriented: it is like being plunged into the deep and not knowing what we will find. I myself have frequently experienced

November 3: “Death is in my thoughts”

In a series of revealing interviews he gave a few years before he became pope, Pope Francis described death as “a daily companion of mine.” Why is that? “I’m over seventy years old and the

November 2:  Resurrection is an irresistible force

In “The mysterious working of the risen Christ and his Spirit,” the section in Evangelii Gaudium on the Resurrection as the source of the “mysterious” fruitfulness of the missionary enterprise, we can hear the voice

November 1: Our infinite sadness

Perhaps it is only to be expected that, in an apostolic exhortation that focuses on the joy of the Gospel, death is not a subject or a theme in itself. Death is discussed, when it

October 31: The Pasig in the Vatican

Pope Francis is writing an encyclical on the environment—what activists and advocates alike have taken to calling an eco-encyclical. It is likely that, as in the case of Evangelii Gaudium, the writing is taking on

October 30: The Big Bang

"The Big Bang, which today is held as the beginning of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator, but requires it. Evolution in nature is not at odds with the notion

October 29: Love is an attitude

In the same section where Pope Francis writes of an hierarchy of virtues, with mercy at the apex of the pyramid, he speaks of the first, most important, requirement of a missionary heart.

October 28: House of cards

“The church has experienced times of brilliance, like that of Thomas Aquinas. But the church has lived also times of decline in its ability to think. For example, we must not confuse the genius of

October 27: The telephone game

"In today’s world of instant communication and occasionally biased media coverage, the message we preach runs a greater risk of being distorted."