The day when the Church commemorated the name of the Virgin Mary, Pope Francis talked about unity and division among Christians during the morning Mass at St. Martha’s House. Commenting, at the beginning of his homily, Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians (whom the apostle rebukes for their quarrels), Bergoglio reiterated that “the devil has two powerful weapons to destroy the Church: division and money.” This has been happening since the early years after the death of Jesus: “ideological and theological division tore the Church apart. The devil sows envy, ambition, ideas, whatever it took to split the Church! Even greed.” And, like after a war, “everything is destroyed. The devil goes away happy. Whereas we fall – naively – into his traps.”
“The divisive war is a dirty one – the Pope repeated -, it is like a terrorist”, “and divisions in the Church do not let the Kingdom of God grow; they do not allow the Lord to manifest the way He is. Divisions make this part visible, or another one, this against that, and against that… Always against! The oil, the balm of unity is missing. But the devil goes further: not only the Christian community, he aims at the very root of Christian unity. This is what happens there, in the city of Corinth, to the Corinthians. Paul reproaches them because division reaches the very root, that is, the Eucharistic celebration.”
Corinthians used to separate the rich from the poor during the Eucharistic celebration. Jesus – the Pope said – “prayed our Father for unity. I ask you to do everything in your power not to destroy the Church through divisions, be they due to creeds, greed, ambition, or envy. But above all, I ask you guard the source, the very root of the Church’s unity, which is the Body of Christ; pray for it. May we celebrate – every day – his sacrifice in the Eucharist”.
“This is what Paul might tell all of us today, to the entire present-day Church. ‘Brothers, in this, I cannot praise you, because you do not gather for the better, but for the worse!’ But the Church gathered… For the worse, for division: for the worse! To stain the Body of Christ in the Eucharist! And Paul himself tells us, in another passage: ‘Those who eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ unworthily eat and drinks judgment”.
“Let us ask the Lord to grant us the unity of the Church; let us pray him not to let it divide -Pope Francis concluded the Homily -. Let us pray Him to grant us the unity also in the Church’s root, the sacrifice of Christ, which we celebrate every day.” Msgr. Arturo Antonio Szymanski Ramírez, Archbishop Emeritus of San Luis Potosi (Mexico), who will turn 95 in January, was present at the celebration. At the beginning of his homily, the Pope mentioned him, remembering that he participated in the Second Vatican Council and that he helps in the parish at present. The Pope received him in audience on 9 September.