Pope Francis will be coming to Korea in August, and Korean Catholics are enthused partially due to the star quality of Pope Francis. The priest writing in a bulletin for priests mentions how the Vatican religious goods stores are selling from 70 to 80 percent more than usual thanks to the pope's popularity. This popularity hopefully will translate into having more people interested in the Church and gain more respect for the Church in the society. However, more importantly will be for the Church to understand the meaning of the pope's words and actions and bring about renewal and reform within the Church.
pope will be attracting our attention in unfavorable circumstances to
an appreciation of the joy of the Gospel. 'Joy of the Gospel' shows us
the importance of evangelization but it is not just to increase the
number of our Catholics but an evangelization inviting all of humanity
to the Trinitarian intimacy and the love in unity. The washing of the
feet of a Muslim child is a sign of this vision. Jesus wanted all
humanity to accept the Fatherhood of God, and this is the vision that Francis want us to have. He continues the article showing
some of the other aspects of the renewal and reform.
Francis wants us first, to be a poor Church. "This is why I want a
Church which is poor and for the poor. They have much to teach us"(
#198). How do we go about being a poor Church? We cannot have renewal
without becoming a poor Church. Operations with an eye for profit and big
welfare projects, there is more lost than gained. Making the Church
vital requires that we deepen our spirituality of poverty. In these
times of greed, the spirit of poverty is the means of healing. We have
to train workers to be friends to the poor. The poor evangelize us to
be a Church of the poor.
The Church, secondly, needs to be
prophetic. "Yet if he does not take time to hear God’s word with an open
heart, if he does not allow it to touch his life, to challenge him, to
impel him, and if he does not devote time to pray with that word, then
he will indeed be a false prophet, a fraud, a shallow impostor" (#151)
These words of Francis will open us up to be opposed, but that is our
Thirdly, we need to leave our comfort zone, be open
and be a Church that goes out to others. This, says the writer, the pope
mentions on a number of occasions in the Joy of the Gospel. We need to
be interested in the needs of the people. We need to leave the sacristy
to be with the people. This needs to be part of the daily life, visiting
homes, the sick and weekly giving of the sacraments to the sick.
is a need of hearing the cries of the people, their pain, their
complaints and being with them. They will make known their inner desire
and be open to the answers from the Gospel. We have to show them the
Gospel life. "We do not live better when we flee, hide, refuse to share,
stop giving and lock ourselves up in own comforts. Such a life is
nothing less than slow suicide" (#272). When we go out to others it
will seem at times that we are facing death, but we will be refreshed and concludes, be walking on water.