During morning Mass, Friday November 7, at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis described worldly Christians as pagan Christians who behave like enemies of the Cross of Christ. According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis described two groups of Christians. “Both groups were in the Church together, they went to Mass on Sunday, they praised the Lord, they called themselves Christians. So what was the difference? The second group act like the enemies of the Cross of Christ! Christians…..enemies of the Cross of Christ.”
Pope Francis described worldly Christians as Christians in name only, taking two or three Christian things, but nothing more. Pope Francis added, “Pagan Christian…a Christian name but a pagan life. Or to put it another way, Pagans with two strokes of Christian paint, so as to appear like Christians, but pagans nonetheless.”
Pope Francis continued: 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]: ‘because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth’. These are very strong words! They are enemies of the Cross of Christ. They take the name, but do not follow the requirements of Christian life”.
Everyone, Pope Francis said, including himself must ask himself the following questions:
- Do I have something of these?
- So I have some worldliness within me?
- Some Paganism?
- Do I like to brag?
- Do I like the money?
- Do I like pride, arrogance?
- Am I in the world or the worldly spirit?
- Where are my roots, that is , where am I a citizen of? Heaven or earth?
Pope Francis explained that there are signs of the heart that show us whether we are sliding toward worldliness. “If you love and if you are attached to money, vanity and pride 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.” Pope Francis recalled that Jesus asked the Father to save his disciples from the spirit of the world, this worldliness, which leads to destruction.
.Pope Francis also reflected on the parable of the steward who cheated his master. He described how little by little we are led to corruption. “The path of worldliness of these enemies of the Cross of Christ is like this,” Pope Francis said, “it leads you to corruption! And then you end up like this man, right? Openly stealing!”
Pope Francis continued with 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. Pope Francis concluded his homily saying we should seek to be firm in the Lord and follow the example of the Cross of Christ: humility, poverty, meekness, service to others, worship, and prayer.