Pope Francis: Lukewarm Christians hurt the Church
Passing on the faith with courage is an essential duty of all Christians. A lukewarm Christianity with no courage hurts the Church by creating divisions. This was the central message of Pope Francis’ homily on Friday morning in Casa Santa Marta broadcasted by Radio Vatican.
The Mass was concelebrated by Pope Francis with Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and also attended by the Pontifical Swiss Guard with their commander Daniel Rudolf Anrig.
On Sunday 6th the guard is going to hold their annual celebration to commemorate the last stand of 1527. Each year on this day, new recruits take the solemn oath of loyalty.
In a special greeting Pope Francis addressed the guards and described their service as “a beautiful testimony of fidelity to the Church” and “love for the Pope.”
Focusing on the readings of the day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Psalm 19:2-5, John 14:6-14) Pope Francis said in his homily that all Christians who have received the gift of faith must pass this gift on by proclaiming it with our lives, with our word.
“But”, the Pope questioned, “what is this fundamental faith? It is faith in the Risen Jesus, in Jesus who has forgiven our sins through His death and reconciled us with the Father”
“Transmitting this requires us to be courageous: the courage of transmitting the faith. A sometimes simple courage. I remember – excuse me – a personal story: as a child every Good Friday my grandmother took us to the Procession of Candles and at the end of the procession came the recumbent Christ and my grandmother made us kneel down and told us children, ‘Look he is dead, but tomorrow he will be Risen! ‘. That is how the faith entered: faith in Christ Crucified and Risen. In the history of the Church there have been many, many people who have wanted to blur this strong certainty and speak of a spiritual resurrection. No, Christ is alive”.
Reiterating that Christians must have the courage to proclaim His Resurrection, the Good News, Pope Francis went on saying that “Christ is alive and is also alive among us”
However, Pope Francis pointed out that there is another courage, that Jesus asks of us:
“Jesus – to put it in stronger terms – challenges us to prayer and says this:’ Whatever you ask in my name, I will do so that the Father may be glorified in the Son ‘. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it … But this is really powerful! We must have the courage to go to Jesus and ask him: ‘But you said this, do it! Make the faith grow, make evangelization move forward, help me to solve this problem… Do we have this courage in prayer? Or do we pray a little, when we can, spending a bit’ of time in prayer? But that courage, that parresia even in prayer … “.
Recalling how we how we read in the Bible that Abraham and Moses have the courage to “negotiate with the Lord” the Pope pointed out that this courage “in favor of others, in favor of the Church” is also needed today:
“When the Church loses courage, the Church enters into a ‘lukewarm’ atmosphere. The lukewarm, lukewarm Christians, without courage … That hurts the Church so much, because this tepid atmosphere draws you inside, and problems arise among us; we no longer have the horizon, or courage to pray towards heaven, or the courage to proclaim the Gospel. We are lukewarm … We have the courage to get involved in our small things in our jealousies, our envy, our careerism, in selfishly going forward … In all these things, but this is not good for the Church: the Church must be courageous! We all have to be courageous in prayer, in challenging Jesus!”.