Vatican City, Nov 7, 2014 / 10:13 am
In his daily homily for Mass at the Santa Marta residence, Pope Francis urged the faithful against living as lukewarm pagans who are merely Christian in name, for these are "enemies of the Cross."
Reflecting on the day's reading from Paul to the Philippians, the Holy Father spoke of two types of Christians: those who advance in their faith, and those who behave as "enemies of the Cross of Christ."
Pope Francis condemned this latter group as "Christian pagans," describing them as "worldly, Christian in name," but living a "pagan life." They are "pagans with two strokes of Christian paint, in order to appear as Christians."
There are my Christians today who live out their faith in this way, the Holy Father said. He warned the faithful to be attentive so as to not become like these "Christian pagans," who are merely "Christians in appearance."
The downfall of such Christians is their mediocrity, he continued, for their hearts become lukewarm. "Because you are lukewarm, I vomit you from my mouth" the Pope said, citing the Lord's words against lukewarm Christians.
"They are enemies of the Cross of Christ. They take the name (Christian), but do not follow the demands of a Christian life."
Continuing his reflection on Saint Paul, Pope Francis said these Christians "are citizens of the world," not of Heaven.
The Holy Father then challenged the faithful to ask themselves if they too exhibit the same worldliness and paganism, and whether they are citizens of Heaven or the earth.
Unlike the citizens of Heaven who await the coming of the Savior, Pope Francis said the citizens of earth are destined for damnation.
"Where will the citizenship which you have in your heart take you?" the Pope said. Worldliness leads to ruin, whereas the Cross of Christ leads to "to an encounter with Him."
Pope Francis noted there are signs "in the heart" which show one is "drifting toward worldliness". Among these are self love, attachment to money, vanity, and pride.
On the contrary, if "you seek to love God, to serve others, if you are meek, if you are humble... you are on a good path. Your citizen card is good: it is of Heaven!"
The Holy Father recalled how Jesus asked His Father to save his disciples "from the spirit of the world, from this worldliness, which leads to damnation."
Pope Francis turned to the Gospel reading for the day, in which Jesus gives the Parable of the rich man and the dishonest steward. The steward did not reach the point to where he was cheating and stealing from his master overnight, the Holy Father said. Rather, he arrived at this level of corruption "little by little."
Thus is "the road to worldliness of these enemies of the Cross of Christ," he said. "It leads you to corruption!"
Pope Francis concluded by calling on Christians to remain "firm in the Lord," as Paul says, for "there lies the transfiguration in glory."