Pope Francis has said true Christian witness requires three characteristics.
According to Vatican Radio, during the Holy Father’s daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Francis said the faithful must give witness in three ways: “Journey, as a sending off to announce [the Gospel]; Service: the life of a Christian is not for himself, but for others, as was the life of Jesus;” and “Freely.”
The Holy Father recalled today’s Gospel reading in which Jesus sends out His disciples to proclaim the Good News. Being a disciple of the Lord, Francis said, requires setting forth not on ‘a stroll,’ but on a mission to proclaim the Gospel.
“If a disciple stays still and doesn’t go out and does not give back to others what he has received in Baptism,” Francis said, “he is not a true disciple of Jesus. He lacks the missionary [spirit]; he can’t get out of himself [to be able] to bring something good to others.”
Disciples of Christ are to go beyond limits to bring this Good News, the Jesuit Pope said, noting this entails an inner journey of constantly seeking the Lord, through prayer and mediation. If God is not sought in this way, the Gospel the disciple takes to others will be weak and watered down, Francis warned.
The Pope then turned to the second element, saying one who doesn’t serve is not Christian. “A disciple who does not serve others is not Christian. The disciple has to do what Jesus preached in those two pillars of Christianity: the Beatitudes and the ‘protocol’ on which we shall be judged, Matthew (chapter) 25.”
“If his life is not for service, there is no point in living the Christian life [it: non serve, per vivere, come Cristiano],” the Pope said, stressing true disciples serve others, especially the marginalized.
Pope Francis then spoke on the third characteristic of giving ‘freely.’ He recalled Jesus’ words to His disciples, ‘Freely you have received, freely [you must] give.’
“It ‘s sad when you find Christians who forget this Word of Jesus:’ Freely you have received, freely give’,” the Pope said. “It’s sad when you find Christian communities – whether it be parishes, religious congregations, dioceses – which forget this ‘gratuity’ because behind this…there is the deception [to assume] that salvation comes from riches, from human power.”
“Our hope is in Jesus Christ [so that He] gives us such hope as [that which] never disappoints. ” However, Francis warned, “when hope is in how comfortable the journey is.. in a selfish desire to get things for oneself and not to serve others or…. in riches or the small securities of this world, all this collapses.”
“The Lord himself makes it collapse,” Pope Francis said.