In his homily this morning in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta, the Holy Father stressed the need for Christians that are on the path of sanctification and not ‘halfway Christians.’ Pope Francis reflected on the first reading from the Letter to the Romans, which centered on the mystery of our redemption.
Saint Paul, he said, explains redemption “with the logic of before and after: before Jesus and after Jesus.” Life before Christ is rubbish where as life after Christ is a new creation.
“We are remade in Christ! That which Christ has done in us is a recreation: the blood of Christ has recreated us. It is a second creation!” the Pope exclaimed.
“If at first all our life, our body, our soul, our habits were on the path of sin, of iniquity, after this recreation we should make the effort to walk on the path of justice, of sanctification. Use this word: holiness. All of us have been baptized: in that moment, our parents – when we were babies – in our name, made the Act of Faith: ‘ I believe in Jesus Christ”, who has forgiven us our sins.’”
The Pope went on to say that this faith in Jesus Christ should be brought forward in our way of life. In living out this recreation, one can bring forward the first sanctification received in Baptism. With our weaknesses, sins, and imperfections, the Holy Father said that through them, one can choose a life on or away from the path of holiness.
“If one says “‘My life is like this; I believe in Jesus Christ, but I live like I want’… No, that does not sanctify you; that is wrong! It is a contradiction!,” the Pope exclaimed. “But if you say: ‘Lord, you have strength, give me faith! You can heal me!. And in the Sacrament of Reconciliation you are healed, yes, even our imperfections are of use in this way of sanctification. But this is always: before and after.”
Drawing again from St. Paul’s letter, the Holy Father explained that before the Act of Faith we were on the path of injustice, but after it, we are placed on the path of sanctification. However, in order to continue on this path, one must take it seriously.
“Without this awareness of before and after that Paul speaks of, our Christianity does not help anyone! And more so: it goes on the path of hypocrisy,” the Pope said.
“‘I call myself Christian, but I live like a pagan! Sometimes we say ‘halfway Christians’ who do not take this seriously. We are holy, justified, sanctified by the blood of Christ: take this sanctification and bring it forward!”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to “let go of all that distances us from Jesus Christ”.
The question that we should then ask ourselves today is if we want to live this Christianity seriously, if we want to bring forward this recreation,” the Holy Father said.