Pope's Morning Homily: A Christian Without the Church Is Purely Idealistic

Explains Nature of Authentic Christian Hope

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A Christian is one who keeps the memory of his people, of their Journey and of the Church alive. This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ homily today at Casa Santa Marta this morning.

The Holy Father began his homily by reflecting on the first reading which recalls Paul’s exhortation at the synagogue. In proclaiming the Gospel, the Pope noted, the apostles do not begin solely with Christ, but rather by recalling the history of the people of God.

Jesus, he said, “does not make sense without this history.” The Holy Father went on to say that a Christian without the Church is “purely idealistic.”

«But you cannot understand a Christian alone, just like you cannot understand Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ did not fall from the sky like a superhero who comes to save us. No. Jesus Christ has a history,” he said.

“And we can say, and it is true, that God has a history because He wanted to walk with us. And you cannot understand Jesus Christ without His history. So a Christian without history, without a Christian nation, a Christian without the Church is incomprehensible. It is a thing of the laboratory, an artificial thing, a thing that cannot give life».

The 77 year old Pontiff emphasized the importance of this dimension of history, saying that a “Christian is one who keeps the memory of the history of his people, who keeps the memory of his people’s journey, who keeps the memory of his Church.” This memory, he said, is that of a journey towards the fulfillment of a promise.

“And for this, a Christian in the Church is a man, a woman with hope: hope in the promise. It is not expectation: no, no! That’s something else: It is hope. Right, on we go! [Towards] that which does not disappoint,” he said.

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis invited the faithful to ask God for the grace of memory that allows us to look forward with hope. In doing so, one follows the path towards God and renews the covenant with Him.

«It would do us good today,” he said, “to think about our Christian identity. Our Christian identity is belonging to a people: the Church. Without this, we are not Christians.”

“We entered the Church through baptism: there we are Christians. And for this reason, we should be in the habit of asking for the grace of memory, the memory of the journey that the people of God has made; also of personal memory: What God did for me, in my life, how has he made me walk … Ask for the grace of hope, which is not optimism: no, no! It ‘s something else. And ask for the grace to renew the covenant with the Lord who has called us every day. May the Lord give us these three graces, which are necessary for the Christian identity.” (J.A.E.)

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