The Church Must Be Like John the Baptist – Pope Francis

Romereports.com) On June 24th, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. John the Baptist. During his daily Mass at the Vatican, the Pope explained that the Church must be like St. John, who is described in the Gospel as ‘a voice crying out in the desert.’

POPE FRANCIS
“The Church exists to proclaim, to be the voice of His Word, of her husband, who is the Truth. The Church exists to proclaim this Word until martyrdom. Martyrdom precisely in the hands of the proud, the proudest on Earth. This is the model that John offers us today, for us and for the Church. A Church that is always at the service of the Word. A Church that never takes anything for herself.”

The Pope said that even though St. John could have gained fame and honor, since he was considered by some to be the Messiah, he chose a humiliating death and was faithful to the Lord until the end.

PARTIAL HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)

“John seems to be nothing. That is John’s vocation: he negates himself. And when we contemplate the life of this man, so great, so powerful – all believed that he was the Messiah – when we contemplate this life, how it is nullified to the point of the darkness of a prison, we behold a great mystery. We do not know what John’s last days were like. We do not know. We only know that he was killed, his head was put on a platter, as a great gift from a dancer to an adulteress. I don’t think you can lower yourself much more than this, negate yourself much more. That was the end that John met.”

“The Church exists to proclaim, to be the voice of a Word, her husband, who is the Word. The Church exists to proclaim this Word until martyrdom. Martyrdom precisely in the hands of the proud, the proudest on Earth. John could have made himself important, he could have said something about himself. But I think he never did that. He showed the way, he felt himself to be the voice, not the Word. This is John’s secret. Why is John holy and without sin? Because he never, never took a truth as his own. He would not be an ideologue. The man who negated himself so that the Word could come to the fore. And we, as a Church, we can now ask for the grace not to become an ideological Church.”

“This is the model that John offers us today, for us and for the Church. A Church that is always at the service of the Word. A Church that never takes anything for herself. Today in prayer we asked for the grace of joy, we asked the Lord to cheer this Church in her service to the Word, to be the voice of this Word, preach this Word. We ask for the grace, the dignity of John, with no ideas of their own, without a Gospel taken as property, only one Church that indicates the Word, and this even to martyrdom. So be it!”

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