Pope at Santa Marta: A True Christian Isn't Afraid to Dirty His Hands With Sinners

Urges Faithful to Go to the Limit Like Jesus, Not to Fear Critics and Gossip

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Even if it means risking one’s reputation, true Christians must follow Jesus’ loving example and not be afraid to «get their hands dirty» with sinners. This was the theme of Pope Francis’ morning homily today at Casa Santa Marta.

Vatican Radio reported that the Holy Father began by warning against being “half way” Christians and pastors, who go until a certain point, then stop, rather than doing as Jesus did, “going to the limit,” without fear of others’ opinions.

Reflecting on the two parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin, the Pope observed that the Pharisees and scribes were scandalized because Jesus «welcomes sinners and eats with them. It was quite a scandal at the time for these people.»  

«Imagine if at that time there were newspapers,» he jokingly added.

He went on to say that Christ came to look for those who strayed, while noting that the parables allow the faithful to see the heart of God. «God does not stop. God does not go up to a certain point, God goes all the way, always to the limit,» the Pope said. 

Warning against being “half way” pastors, the 77-year-old Pontiff lamented that it was sad to see both pastors who wait for Christians to come and Christians who do not feel the need to «tell others that the Lord is good.»

True shepherds and Christians don’t allow anyone to be lost, to stray away, he stressed.

«They are not afraid to get their hands dirty. They are not afraid and go where they need to go. They’ll risk their lives, risk their reputation, even if it means risking their comfort and status.”

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis urged the faithful to not be silent out of fear of losing their comfort, reputation, and peace of mind. «Do not be afraid that they badmouth us because we go to visit our brothers and sisters who are distant from the Lord.,» he said. 

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