In the final homily of his trip to South America Pope Francis said that a key aspect of Christian spirituality and evangelization is to have a welcoming attitude toward others, especially those most in need.
“How many times do we see evangelization as involving any number of strategies, tactics, maneuvers, techniques, as if we could convert people on the basis of our own arguments?” the Pope asked at his July 12 Mass in Asuncion, Paraguay.
In the day’s Gospel, taken from Matthew, “the Lord says to us quite clearly: in the mentality of the Gospel, you do not convince people with arguments, strategies or tactics. You convince them by learning how to welcome them.”
“Jesus as the good master, the good teacher, sends them out to be welcomed, to experience hospitality,” Francis said. Rather than going out as men with influence, dominance or officials with rules, the disciples are being shown by Jesus that “the Christian journey is about changing hearts.”
“It is about learning to live differently, under a different law, with different rules. It is about turning from the path of selfishness, conflict, division and superiority, and taking instead the path of life, generosity and love.”
“The Church is the home of hospitality,” he said, explaining that she is a mother who knows how to welcome and accept with an open heart, particularly those who are in greatest need.
“How much good we can do, if only we try to speak the language of hospitality, of welcome! How much pain can be soothed, how much despair can be allayed in a place where we feel at home! Welcoming the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner, the leper and the paralytic.”
Pope Francis also stressed the importance of welcoming those who don’t think the same as us, who do not have faith or who have lost it, as well as the persecuted, the unemployed and those in different cultures.
He also emphasized the need to welcome sinners, saying that often it’s easy to forget that evil lies at the root of out sin.
“There is a bitter root which causes damage, great damage, and silently destroys so many lives. There is an evil which, bit by bit, finds a place in our hearts and eats away at our life: it is isolation.”
Isolation can have many different roots, the Pope observed, explaining that it does a lot of harm and “makes us turn our back on others, God, the community. It makes us closed in on ourselves.”
This, he said, is why the true work of the Church, as a mother, is not mainly to managing various projects, “but to learn how to live in fraternity with others.”
By living this way Jesus teaches us a have a new mentality, and opens up new horizons filled with truth, beauty, life and fulfillment.
“God never closes off horizons; he is never unconcerned about the lives and sufferings of his children. God never allows himself to be outdone in generosity.”
Posted on Pope Francis Support