Pope at Mass: ‘Learn from Vatican II how to see the Church’

In his homily during the Mass celebrating the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis pronounces the words of Jesus to St. Peter – “Do you love me? Feed my sheep” – are addressed to the Church today as well.

By Christopher Wells

“Do you love me? Feed my sheep.” These words of Jesus, originally addressed to St. Peter, are “also addressed to us, to us as a Church,” said Pope Francis in his homily at the Mass held on Tuesday to mark the sixtieth anniversary the opening of the Second Ecumenical Council Vatican – Second Vatican Council.

In fact, the Pope said, the Council was “one great answer” to the Lord’s question: “Do you love me?”

“In order to rekindle her love for the Lord,” he said, “the Church, for the first time in her history, consecrated a council to examine herself and to reflect on her nature and mission.”

Pope Francis then proposed three ways we can learn from the Council to look at the Church, beginning with looking at it from God’s point of view, “from above, with God’s eyes, eyes full of love.” He warned against looking at the church from our own point of view, and condemned both “progressivism” and “traditionalism” as unfaithfulness, “forms of Pelagian selfishness that put our own tastes and purposes above the love of God.”

Instead, he said, “Let us rediscover the Council, to give primacy back to God, for what is essential: for a church that loves madly its Lord and all the men and women he loves.”

“Let’s rediscover the passion for Council and renew our own passion for Council!”

Church exists for love

Turning to the word “feeding,” Pope Francis explained that this is the kind of love Jesus desired from St. Peter. Originally a fisherman, Peter was made a shepherd, one called to live among and love his sheep.

This, the Pope said, is the second way of looking at the Church: looking around, being in the world without looking down on others. “How timely the Council remains!” he said. “It helps us resist the temptation to shut ourselves in the confines of our own comforts and beliefs” and leads us to “imitate God’s approach” to seek out the lost sheep and lead them back into the fold.

He said: “The Church, our holy and hierarchical mother, who springs from the heart of the Trinity, exists for the sake of love” and urged believers to “resist the temptation of selfishness”. The people of God, Pope Francis said, “are a pastoral people” specially called to care for the poor and marginalized.

One, united with the Lord

Pope Francis concluded his homily with an impassioned plea for unity in the Church.

God, he said, “wants us to see the whole,” and this is the third way of looking at the church. The Pope lamented the tendency of Christians to “choose one side” in the Church rather than serve all.

“We are his sheep, his flock,” said the pope, “and we can only be together and one.”

“Let’s overcome all polarization and preserve our community!”

Finally, Pope Francis thanked the Lord “for the gift of the Council” and prayed that He would “liberate us from the pretense of self-sufficiency and from the spirit of worldly criticism…to lead us out of the shadows of selfishness… [and] save us from the forms of polarization that are the work of the devil.”

Mass for the 60th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council

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