At this morning’s mass at St. Martha’s House, the Pope warned faithful to beware of not becoming pagans with a Christian name. “If you are attached to money, vanity and pride – he warned – you are heading down down the bad road”.
The Pope today urged faithful to remain “firm in the Lord” without allowing our heart to weaken and end up in “nothing, in corruption”. “One day a tip here, the next day a bribe there, and this is how little by little you arrive at corruption.” In his homily for this morning’s amss in St. Martha’s House he spoke about the risk of becoming “worldly Christians”, “pagans with two strokes of Christian paint, so as to appear like Christians, but pagans nonetheless,” getting “used to mediocrity.” “They are citizens of the world, not of heaven,” the Pope said.
Francis based his reflections on St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, which speaks about Christians who “live like enemies of the Cross of Christ”.
“Even today there are many! We must be careful not to slip toward the path of being pagan Christians, Christians in appearance. The temptation to get used to mediocrity, the mediocrity of Christians, these Christians, it is their undoing because their hearts cool, they become lukewarm. And the Lord had strong words for these lukewarm [Christians].”
Paul, the Pope went on to say, speaks of the “citizenship” of Christians. “Our citizenship,” he noted, “is in heaven. Theirs is on earth. They are citizens of the world, not of heaven”. “Citizens of the world. And their surname is worldly! Beware of these” warned Pope Francis adding that everyone, himself including, must ask: “Do I have something of these? Do I have some worldliness within me? Some paganism? “Do I like to brag? Do I like the money? Do I like pride, arrogance? Where are my roots, that is, where am I a citizen of? Heaven or earth? In the world or the worldly spirit? Our citizenship is in heaven, and we await heaven and Our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. And theirs? Their ultimate fate will be destruction! These painted Christians will end badly … But look at the end: where will that citizenship that you have in your heart lead you? The worldly one to ruin, that of the Cross of Christ to an encounter with Him”.
The Pope then pointed out a few signs “of the heart” that show us whether we “are sliding towards worldliness”. “If you love and if you are attached to money, vanity and pride – he warned – you are heading towards the bad road”. If, instead, “you try to love God, serve others, if you are gentle, if you are humble, if you are the servant of the other, you are on the right road. Your citizen’s card is good: it belongs to heaven”. The other, by contrast, “is a citizenship that will bring you only bad”. The Pope pointed out that Jesus asked the Father to save his disciples “from the spirit of the world, this worldliness, which leads to destruction.”
After the Letter to the Philippian,s Pope Francis commented on the parable of the steward who cheated his master, told in the Gospel of the day: “How did this steward in the Gospel arrive at this point of cheating, of stealing from his master? How did he get there, from one day to the next? No! Little by little. One day a tip here, the next day a bribe there, and this is how little by little you arrive at corruption. The path of worldliness of these enemies of the Cross of Christ is like this, it leads you to corruption! And then you end up like this man, right? Openly stealing … ”
Pope Francis returned to the words of St. Paul, who asks us to remain “firm in the Lord” without allowing our heart to weaken and end up in “nothing, in corruption”. “This is a good grace to seek – he said – remaining firm in the Lord. It is all of salvation, there lies transfiguration in glory”. “Firm in the Lord and following the example of the Cross of Christ: humility, poverty, meekness, service to others, worship, prayer.”