Comfort Zone: NO THANK YOU! "I prefer a wounded Church"

15 September 2017
Servizio Fotografico dell'Osservatore Romano

Some were astonished to see the face of Pope Francis injured during his visit to Colombia. The bruise on his eyebrow and on his cheekbone, the blood-stained white garment. A small accident on the Pope-mobile, which brought to mind the words of Bergoglio and inspired my ANS Editorial: "I prefer a Church that is bruised, wounded and dirty because it is going out into the streets, rather than a Church made sick by closure and the convenience of clinging to its own safety." (EG49)

It is natural for us all to sometimes remain sheltered within the borders of our own "comfort zones," within our well-established securities, where we feel comfortable and safe; but it is precisely when we do experience this sensation that we should begin to worry, suspect something is wrong.

Sometimes we have difficulty accepting that the Church, as it was in the primordial nature of its very first communities, is constantly on the move. Born to be sent out, on the road, to announce good news by preaching across the globe without ever worrying about where to lay down one's head.

In a way, the entire Gospel plays out in a state of continuous motion. Jesus teaches as he walks. His miracles occur when moving from place to place, hiking through a village, nonstop, along roads, paths, locations, streets that are always new.

Here, then, the outline of the prototypical disciple's image: a Man in continuous motion, a man constantly on the move.

The Apostles are invited to go to all nations, to seek the confines of the world; they prefer a boat to a convenient office, a walking cane to a tourist guide.

The testimony of Pope Francis today interrogates us and makes us think. A Church  the Pontiff dreams of is about walking along streets and alleys leading to the periphery, the outskirts or inner cities where many are afraid to venture, places where poverty summons love. A Pope who travels to Africa, arrives in the outskirts of Bangui to open the Holy Door, travels to Egypt to talk with other confessional leaders, arrives in Cuba, Korea and Paraguay ... visits prisons, hospitals, meets the refugees.

The photos of the afflicted, wounded, and bleeding – yet smiling - face of the Holy Father may only scandalize those who, behind their desks, promote an aseptic religion far from the poor; but they certainly encourage the many people who dream of a Church with "worn-out shoes for the many roads taken."

Getting out of our own "Comfort Zone" means abandoning our fears, walking with determination as our Fathers in faith did; it means having the courage to tread new roads, explore new horizons, to deal with different people, to plan and work in new creative ways. "We can no longer remain calm, at rest, waiting passively, within our churches."* (EG15)

The Gospel always invites us to take the risk of facing the other." (EG88)

Let us ask ourselves what our own "comfort zone" is before the Evangelical message?



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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