The risk that the pandemic which prevents participation in celebrations allowing us to make only spiritual communion can transform us into a "virtual" community. "The Church, the Sacraments, the People of God are concrete".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis invited prayers for expectant mothers who worry over the future world this morning as he introduced Mass at Casa Santa Marta, in which he also spoke of the danger that the epidemic could "virtualize" the sacraments.
He said: “I would like to pray today for women who are expecting, pregnant women who will become mothers and who are restless and who worry. They have one question: 'In what world will my child live?' Let us pray for them, so that the Lord will give them the courage to carry these children with the confidence that it will certainly be a different world, but it will always be a world that the Lord will love so much”.
In his homily, the Pope commented on the passage of the Gospel of the miraculous fishing (Jn 21 1-14) emphasizing the apostles "familiarity" with Jesus and the danger that the pandemic which prevents participation in celebrations allowing us to make only spiritual communion can transform us into a "virtual" community.
In today's passage of the Gospel, he said, "you see a certain naturalness, you see that there has been progress, a journey that led to knowledge of the Lord, to intimacy with the Lord; I will use the right word: to familiarity with the Lord", "they knew it was the Lord, it was natural, the encounter with the Lord. The apostles' familiarity with the Lord had grown."
“We Christians too, in our life’s journey are in this state of walking, of progressing in familiarity with the Lord. The Lord, I might say, is a little 'close at hand', but 'close at hand' because he walks with us, we know it is Him. Nobody asked him here, 'who are you?': They knew it was the Lord. The Christian has a daily familiarity with the Lord. And surely, they broke their fast together, with fish and bread, they certainly talked about many things with naturalness".
“This familiarity with the Lord, of Christians, is always in community. Yes, it is intimate, it is personal but in community. A familiarity without community, a familiarity without bread, a familiarity without the Church, without the people, without the sacraments is dangerous. It can become a familiar - let's say - familiarity, a familiarity for me only, detached from the people of God. The familiarity of the apostles with the Lord was always communal, was always at the table, a sign of community. He was always with the Sacrament, with the bread."
"I say this because someone made me reflect on the danger that this moment we are living, this pandemic that forced us to communicate religiously through communications media, through social media, even this Mass, we are all communicating, but not together, spiritually together. There are few people. There is a great people: we are together, but not together. Even the Sacrament: today you [indicating those few present] have it, the Eucharist, but the people who are connected with us, only have spiritual communion. And this is not the Church: this is the Church of a difficult situation, which the Lord allows, but the ideal of the Church is always with the people and the sacraments. Always".
“Before Easter, when the news came out that I would celebrate Easter in an empty Saint Peter's, a bishop wrote me - a good bishop: good - and he scolded me. 'But how come Saint Peter’s is so big, why don't you put at least 30 people, to see people? There will be no danger ... ". I thought: "But, what's this in your head, to tell me this?" I didn't understand at the moment. But since he is a good bishop, very close to the people, he obviously wanted to tell me something. When I meet him, I will ask him. Then I got it. He was saying to me: 'Be careful not to virtualize the Church, not to virtualize the Sacraments, not to virtualize the People of God.' The Church, the Sacraments, the People of God are concrete. It is true that at this moment we must make this familiarity with the Lord in this way, but to get out of the tunnel, not to stay there. And this is the familiarity of the apostles: not Gnostic, not virtualized, not selfish for each of them, but a concrete familiarity in the people ".
“Familiarity with the Lord in daily life, familiarity with the Lord in the Sacraments, in the midst of the People of God. They made a journey of maturity in familiarity with the Lord: we must learn to do this as well. From the first moment, they understood that that familiarity was different from what they imagined, and they came to this. They knew it was the Lord, they shared everything: the community, the sacraments, the Lord, peace, the feast.”
Pope Francis concluded: “May the Lord teach us this intimacy with Him, this familiarity with Him but in the Church, with the sacraments, with the holy faithful people of God ”.
The Pope ended the celebration with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a blessing, inviting us to make spiritual communion.