Pope Francis is restoring to us a sense of Church in the midst of the world, a Church for the sake of the world. This is what I mean. Just this morning, when speaking at the General Audience, Pope Francis said we are privileged to carry out a mission of being a leaven of hope in a world wounded by sin and evil.
It is hard enough to have hope ourselves, but he asks us to do more, to be hope for others who are suffering from evil and despair.
The Pope said we are called to be "so many points of light," illuminating "all of reality" and "showing the way to a better future" for everyone. How can I be a light that shows a way to others?
First of all, I'd need to be able to walk the way first, so I'd know where I was leading others or at least to what I was pointing.
Second, I'd want to live in a way that is distinct from the darkness around me, so I would "show up" in the midst of the crowd as someone different, someone transparent, someone filled with joy and thus attractive.
How can I walk this path and truly shine brightly before others who are looking for the light? By knowing where I'm going... "Our destination is the Kingdom of God which Christ inaugurated on earth and which will attain its fullness in the joy of heaven." The directions to the Kingdom of God are found in the reading of the Gospel, in the prayerful celebration of the Sacraments and in service to the poor. Day by day, prayer by prayer, resolution by resolution, we strengthen our resolve to live the Kingdom, to BE the Kingdom, as light in the darkness.
This is what makes the Church an essential part of God's loving plan for the whole human family. We are called FOR THE OTHERS. We are loved by God FOR THE OTHERS. We are sanctified FOR THE WORLD which depends on us and on our response to grace.
"May the Church always be a place where everyone can encounter God's mercy and feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.