Approaching Others

Pope FrancisWe continue with the last footnote from the synod-concluding speech of Pope Francis. A is for “approaching others.”

Approaching others, since a Church closed in on herself is a dead Church, while a Church which doesn’t leave her own precincts behind in order to seek, embrace and lead others to Christ is a Church which betrays her very mission and calling;

It’s a brief, but familiar theme of the Holy Father. It merits reflection on three points.

The obvious one is that a disciples approaches. A disciple does not intrude, command, insist, or chide. Approach might imply caution if we were talking about something fearful, but it also implies respect when considering a person-to-person situation.

Our focus is on others, not other believers necessarily. A person in the Body demanding of our time or attention may have her or his own problems to sort out. But inward attention is the characteristic of the community that awaited the Holy Spirit. After Pentecost, the impulse of the apostles and other disciples was outward.

The suggestion that we even have “precincts” suggests we’ve been inward-focused for far too long. The whole point of Vatican II was a rejuvenation of the mission. Christians are quick to blame the culture, but I wonder if that’s just belly-aching over our sense of entitlement. Do we have the message, the person, who can change the world? Or not?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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