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Jesus

Pope Francis: Concern for poor is sign of Gospel, not red flag of communism

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Focusing on poverty and sacrificing for the poor are the heart of the Gospel, not signs of communism, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.

Furthermore, if Christians don't dig deep and generously open up their wallets, they do not have "genuine faith," the pope said Tuesday during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

He said people often hear, "Oh, this priest speaks about poverty too much, this bishop talks about poverty, this Christian, this sister talk about poverty. Well, they're a bit communist, aren't they?"

Valuing creation a long-held Catholic tradition

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With its release, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment will be the first such document to focus exclusively on issues of ecology and humans’ place within and relationship with God’s creation.

While Francis’ document has sparked renewed interest in this area, Catholics have a history of valuing creation. Its care is one of the strands of Catholic social teaching -- along with maintaining the dignity of all people, the common good, and peace and reconciliation -- present across the fabric of our history.

Church institutions have to continue to change through our experience of Jesus

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As I was reflecting on these Scripture lessons during this past week, I was reminded of a book that I had read quite a long time ago that had left a great impact on me. It's called Jesus Before Christianity. In other words, before there was a structured, organized, institutional church, in the very beginning -- Jesus before all that organization took place. It's written by a Dominican theologian priest, Fr. Albert Nolan.

Do we have the mind, the heart, the attitude of Jesus?

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In our first lesson today, we have an incident that shows how the first disciples of Jesus were beginning to carry out the work of Jesus. If you think about it, you can really imagine how distressed those officials in that courtroom must have been, how upset. They thought they had killed Jesus. What's this? Now people are going out now and in his name -- that is, with his power -- acting as he did. They're continuing to do the same thing he did.

Jesus shows us there is a special way of overcoming evil and violence

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The readings have been long, but of course since this is the beginning of the most sacred and holy week of the year, it's important for us to spend just a few moments at least in reflecting on the deep message that God is proclaiming to us through these readings, through the events that are described. And perhaps we can catch the deepest meaning of all of this if we listen very carefully again to the words of St. Paul addressed to the Christian community at Philippi.

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