Church needs to ‘go out,’ says Pope Francis

Pope Francis has reminded Catholics, especially church leaders, to “go out” and “search out” people, especially those who are in the so-called peripheries.

“When the Church does not go out, it becomes sick with the many evils we have in the Church. And why are these illnesses in the Church? Because she does not go out,” said the pontiff during his Sunday Angelus Sept. 20.

Pope Francis said Christian communities are “called to go out to the various types of ‘boundaries’” and “offer everyone the word of salvation that Jesus came to bring.”

“It means being open to horizons in life that offer hope to those stationed on the existential peripheries, who have not yet experienced, or have lost, the strength and the light that comes with meeting Christ,” he said.

The pope said while it is true that someone might face the danger of getting into an accident when getting out, “it is better a Church that gets into accidents because it goes out to proclaim the Gospel, than a Church that is sick because it stays in.”

The pontiff reflected on Sunday’s Gospel that told the parable of the workers who were “called to put” in a day’s work by the owner of the vineyard.

The owner “goes out and calls” his people to work for him for several times of the day. The pope said the owner of the vineyard in the parable “represents God who calls everyone and calls always, at any hour.”

“Even today, God acts this way: He continues to call anyone, at whatever hour, to invite them to work in His Kingdom,” he said. 

Pope Francis stressed that God “does not stay shut within His world, but goes out” and He continues to seek out people “because He does not want anyone to be excluded from His loving plan.”

The pontiff also said that like the owner of the vineyard in the parable, God “always pays the maximum amount” and gives everything that we deserve to us.

“He does not pay halfway. He pays for everything. In this way, it is understood that Jesus is not speaking about work and just wages — that is another problem — but about the Kingdom of God and the goodness of the heavenly Father who goes out continually to invite, and He pays everyone the maximum amount,” he said.

Pope Francis reminded the faithful that God “does not look at the time and at the results,” but He looks at the “availability” and “generosity” of the people who put themselves at His service.

The pontiff said God gives us more than the human family deserves or merits.

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