When the Church is humble and poor, then “it is faithful” to Christ, giving all it has for the Lord and others, leaving nothing for itself said Pope Francis at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta Monday.
Pope Francis based his reflections on the Gospel of the Day which recounts the episode of the poor widow who gives all that she has – two small coins or mites – to the Temple treasury, while the rich made offerings from their surplus wealth under the gaze of Jesus. Pope Francis said the Gospel captures two tendencies always present in the history of the Church. The Church tempted by vanity and the “poor Church”, which – he says – “must have no other riches than her Spouse”, like the humble widow:
“I like to see the Church in this figure, the Church which is, in a sense, a widow, because she waiting for her Bridegroom who will return … But she has her Bridegroom in the Eucharist, in the Word of God, in the poor, yes: but she is still waiting for his return. This is the attitude of the Church… This widow was not important, the widow’s name did not appear in the newspapers. No one knew her. She had no university degrees… nothing. Nothing. She didn’t shine of her own light. This is what makes me see the Church in the figure of this woman. The Church must not shine on her own light, but the light that comes from her Bridegroom. That comes right from her Bridegroom. And over the centuries, when the Church wanted to have her own light, she was wrong”.
“It’s true,” continued Pope Francis, “that sometimes the Lord can ask His Church to have, to shine some its own light” but this means that if the Church’s mission is to illuminate humanity, the light that she gifts must be the one she has received from Christ in an attitude of humility:
“Everything we do in the Church is to help us in this, to help us receive that light. Service without this light is no good: it makes the Church rich, or powerful, or makes the Church seek power, or take the wrong road, as has happened many times in history, as happens in our lives, when we want to have another light, which is not exactly that of the Lord: a light of our own“.
When the Church “is faithful to hope and to her Bridegroom,” repeated Papa Francis, “it is a joy to receive the light from Him, to be in this sense ‘widow’ ‘, waiting, like the moon, for the “sun that will return”:
“When the Church is humble, when the Church is poor, even when the Church confesses her wretchedness – we all experience this – then the Church is faithful. The Church says: ‘I am dark, but my light comes from there!’ This does us all good. Let us pray to this widow who is certainly in Heaven, to teach us to be the Church like this, giving everything we have in life: leaving nothing for us. Everything for the Lord and for others. Humble. Without boasting of having our own light, always seeking the light that comes from the Lord”.