Monday, December 23, 2013


Pope Francis has famously asked for “…a poor Church, for the poor.”  I agree with him on one level, but I think (God forgive me!) that I disagree with him on another (though we actually in fact both agree)…
If a poor Church is one that has solidarity with the poor, yet the goods of the Church are necessary to help alleviate the suffering of the poor.  These are two dimensions necessary for the moral life of the Church, it seems to me.

So must the Church be rich?  I think so, understood in a specific sense.

I went to buy some seafood today at a store run by a family who are parishioners.  They have been too kind to me in the past—I feel guilty going there, knowing how much they want to give me.  Today was not much different—I left with seafood (at a discount) and a wonderful “to-go pack” of lunch.  As I was driving back to the rectory, I realized, “I am rich.”  But where does the wealth come from?  It comes from love.

It is in this sense that I want a “rich Church, for the rich.”   I want us to be so overflowing with love for one another and for others that no one can help also but be rich—and grateful.  As St Paul reminds us (II Cor 8:9):  “…our Lord Jesus Christ, [who] for your sake…became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty [we] might become rich.”  This is not just a clever Scripture passage for Stewardship Sunday—it is fundamental to the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption:  He freely gives what we desperately need, but what ourselves could never merit or earn or purchase. 

So I want a Church rich in love, rich in receiving the blessings of the Lord, rich in willingness to share those blessings (material and spiritual) with those who long for them.  This is a Church in which the loaves and fishes are gladly shared in confidence that they will be multiplied to feed the thousands.  It is a Church in which water, freely offered, can be transformed into wine.  It is a Church where the Bread broken and Wine poured out will offer reconciliation and healing.

This is a Church in which no one, ultimately, is poor.

1 comment:

  1. Hope Papa Francis reads this! Good meditation......