As Pope Francis has said, the biblical parable [of the lost sheep] speaks about the good shepherd who leaves his 99 sheep to find the one that is lost. “Today,” the pope said, “we have one in the pen and 99 we need to go looking for.” And we must do everything to reach them, to be with them:
“A church that limits itself to just carrying out administrative duties, caring for its tiny flock, is a church that in the long run will get sick. The pastor who isolates himself is not a true pastor of sheep, but a ‘hairdresser’ for sheep who spends his time putting curlers on them instead of going out to look for others.”
At every turn, Francis has emphasized the needs of the poor, the imperative to go out to the margins, to stand with the people, to work with others — believers, nonbelievers, whoever — for the common good. He has blasted the clericalism of the institutional Catholic Church, the ‘peacocks’ in the hierarchy who strut about in their ecclesiastical finery, and the ‘careerism’ and ‘ambition’ (his words, not mine) of too many priests and bishops. The Church today must embrace simplicity and humility and must ‘prune away’ all the needless overgrowth that is choking our message and mission.
“A Christian, if he is not a revolutionary, in this time, he is not a Christian!” he told the convention of the Diocese of Rome. Amen!
Where do you stand? Where does y(our) church stand? Are we working for inclusion, or are we working to protect and exclude?
I’m not looking for answers to my questions, but I do hope that you will spend some time thinking about where you and your community stands.5