Add this to Matthew Schmitz’s recent inventory of Pope Francis’ ability to convey spiritual concepts in pithy, almost meme-like phrases:
Pope Francis warned against “gentrification of the heart” as a consequence of comfortable living, and called on the faithful to “touch the flesh of Christ” by caring for the needy.
The pope’s words came in a homily during Mass in St. Peter’s Square May 12, when he canonized the first Colombian saint, as well as a Mexican nun and some 800 Italians martyred by Ottoman Turks in the 15th century.
Mexico’s St. Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala (1878-1963), the pope said, gave up a “comfortable life to follow the call of Jesus, taught people to love poverty, in order the more to love the poor and the sick.”
“How much damage does the comfortable life, well-being, do,” the pope added, looking up from his prepared text. “The gentrification of the heart paralyzes us.”
The implication that “gentrification” can be a mindset that carries with it a kind of temptation to bourgeois satisfaction and the seeking of creature comforts instead of a living, ever-new faith also makes this perhaps a bit more apt than another recent analogical stab at connecting Christ and contemporary urban culture.