The true shepherd knows how to step down from his church, because he knows that he is not at the center of history, but is a free man who has served without compromises and without taking control of his flock. That was Pope Francis’ message during his homily at Mass celebrated on Tuesday in the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence.
“A shepherd must be ready to step down completely from his church, rather than leave in a partial manner” said the Pope.
His words were drawn from the first reading at Mass, where St Paul addressed the church leaders in Ephesus. The Pope said that this reading could easily be called “A bishop’s leave taking” because Paul has left the Church of Ephesus in order to go to Jerusalem, where the Holy Spirit called him to go.
“All shepherds have to step down. There comes a moment where the Lord says ‘go to another place, come here, go there, come to me.’ And it’s one of the steps that a shepherd must take; be prepared to step down in the correct way, not still hanging on to his position. The shepherd who doesn’t learn how to do this because he still has some links with his sheep that are not good, links that are not purified by the Cross of Jesus” said Pope Francis.
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