"You can't pick and choose," proclaimed the pontiff, "the Church is for everyone, beginning with those I've already mentioned, the most marginalized. It is everyone's Church!"
The Pope then spoke of the day's gospel passage in which Jesus tells the parable of the man who had a feast and invited many, but they made excuses not to come, lamenting that "They don't accept the invitation! They say 'yes,' but their actions say 'no.'"
These are the Christians who "are content to be on the guest list," which is not enough, because if we do not participate then we are not really a Christian, he warned.
"You were on the list," he declared, "but this isn't enough for salvation! This is the Church: to enter into the Church is a grace; to enter into the Church is an invitation" which cannot be purchased.
To enter into the Church "means to be responsible for those things that the Lord asks of us," explained the Pope, emphasizing that "No one is the protagonist of the Church," but that rather, "we have ONE" who has done everything.
"God is the protagonist! He who does not follow Him is the one who excuses himself."
"The Lord is very generous," added the pontiff, and he understands when we say to him "'No, Lord, I don't want to go to you.'"
Jesus understands and waits for those people because he is merciful, Pope Francis expressed, but he "does not like those who say 'yes' and do the opposite, who have good manners, but go their own way and do not follow the way of the Lord."
It is these people, he continued, "who do not know joy, who don't experience the joy of belonging."
Pope Francis concluded his homily by urging those in attendance to pray for the "grace of understanding," reflecting that "how beautiful it is to be invited to the feast, how beautiful it is to take part in it and to share one's qualities."
"How beautiful it is to be with Him and how wrong it is to dither between 'yes' and 'no,' to say 'yes,' but to be satisfied merely with being a nominal Christian."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.