Pope Francis reflected on the difference between a Christian “of words” and a Christian “of actions” during his homily this morning at Mass in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae.
There are people who “masquerade as Christians,” and sin by being excessively superficial or overly rigid, forgetting that a true Christian is a person of joy who rests their faith on the rock of Christ. Some think they can be Christian without Christ; others think being Christian means being in a perpetual state mourning.
Rigid and sad. Or happy but with no idea of Christian joy. These are two – in a sense opposite – “houses”, in which two categories of believers live and which are both seriously flawed: they are grounded in a Christianity made of words and fail to rely on the “rock” of the Word of Christ. Pope Francis identified both groups in his comments on the Gospel of the day, the famous passage from Matthew of the houses built on sand and rock.
“In the history of the Church there have been two classes of Christians: Christians of words – those” Lord, Lord, Lord “- and Christians of action, in truth. There has always been the temptation to live our Christianity not on the rock that is Christ. The only one who gives us the freedom to say ‘Father’ to God is Christ, our rock. He is the only one who sustains us in difficult times, no? As Jesus said: the rain falls, rivers overflow, winds blow, but the rock is safe, words, the words take flight, they are not needed. But this is the temptation of these Christians of words, of a Christianity without Jesus, a Christianity without Christ. And this has happened and is happening today in the Church: being Christians without Christ. “
Pope Francis went on to analyze these “Christians of words,” revealing their specific characteristics. There is a first type which he defined as “gnostic -“who instead of loving the rock, loves beautiful words “and therefore lives floating on the surface of the Christian life. And then there’s the other, who Pope Francis called “pelagian”, who leads a staid and starched lifestyle. Christians, the Pope ironically added, who stare at their feet.
“And this temptation exists today. Superficial Christians who believe, yes, God, yes Christ, but not everywhere: Jesus Christ is not the one who gives them their foundation. They are the modern gnostics. The temptation of gnosticism. A ‘liquid’ Christianity. On the other hand, there are those who believe that the Christian life should be taken so seriously that they end up confusing solidity, firmness, with rigidity. They are rigid! This think that being Christian means being in perpetual mourning. “
Pope Francis continued that the fact is that there are so many of these Christians. But, he argued, “they are not Christians, they disguise themselves as Christians.” “They do not know he added – what the Lord is, they do not know what the rock is, do not have the freedom of Christians. To put it simply they have no joy “:
“The former have a superficial happiness. The others live in perpetual state of mourning, but do not know what Christian joy is. They do not know how to enjoy the life that Jesus gives us, for they know not to talk to Jesus. They do not feel that they rest on Jesus, with that firmness which the presence of Jesus gives. And they not only have no joy, they have no freedom either. They are the slaves of superficiality, of this life widespread, and the slaves of rigidity, they are not free. The Holy Spirit has no place in their lives,. It is the Spirit who gives us the freedom! Today, the Lord calls us to build our Christian life on Him, the rock, the One who gives us freedom, the One who sends us the Spirit, that keeps us going with joy, on His journey, following His proposals.”
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