By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Do Christians faithfully wait for and depend on the Lord, or do they put all of their trust and sense of security in worldly things, Pope Francis asked in a morning homily.
"When our soul, our life is closer to God, it distances itself from so many worldly things, things that are not needed, that do not help and that create distance from Jesus," he said.
Celebrating an early morning Mass in the chapel of his residence Nov. 23, Pope Francis looked at the day’s Gospel reading in which Jesus praises the poor widow who donated all she had as opposed to the rich, whose offering was just "their surplus wealth."
"I like seeing the widows in the Gospel," he said, because they represent the "widowhood" of the church, as she remains faithful to and awaits the earthly return of her bridegroom, Jesus.
"The church, when it is faithful, leaves everything as she awaits her Lord," the pope said. "Instead, when the church is not faithful or not very faithful or no longer has faith in the love of her Lord, she tries to make do with other things, too, with other kinds of security from the world, more than from God."
Pope Francis looked at several of the widows depicted in the Gospels, including the widow of Nain who, desolate and alone, wept for her dead son; and the persistent widow who did the "impossible" by receiving justice from an evil judge in order to defend her children.
These women reflect a church that weeps for her departed children, he said, a church that prays and intercedes for her children, and a church that always has her heart centered on Jesus, her groom.
A church that does not remain faithful to her "widowhood" and her beloved whom she awaits is "the lukewarm church, the mediocre church, the worldly church" because it seeks security and stability in something other than God, he said.
The pope asked that people try to find their treasure and security only in Jesus and leave behind "all these things that aren’t necessary, that don’t support fidelity."