To say you are a Christian while not living like one does not show people the real treasure of the faith – which we have the obligation to share, Pope Francis said at Mass yesterday.
“Faith is either missionary or it is not faith,” the pope said on Saturday. “If I say that I am a Christian and I live like a pagan, it does not work! This convinces no one.”
“If I say that I am a Christian and live as a Christian, this attracts. It is witness,” he said.
Celebrating Mass in the chapel of his Vatican residence, the Casa Santa Marta, on the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, Pope Francis said sharing the faith is not principally giving the best argument or saying the perfect thing to convince someone, but “offering a treasure.”
The pope’s homily centred on Jesus’ command to his disciples to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
“Faith always leads you out of yourself,” Francis said. “Go out. The transmission of faith; faith must be transmitted, it must be offered, especially with testimony: ‘Go, let people see how you live.’”
He criticised a Catholic faith which is primarily cultural – “a fact on an ID card” – rather than missionary.
“Faith necessarily takes you out, it leads you to give it, because faith, fundamentally, must be transmitted,” he said.
He explained that we are never alone in sharing the faith, because “it is the Lord with me who transmits the faith,” and Jesus promised: “I will be with you every day until the end of the world.”
The pope also reminded Catholics of the importance of having humility in order to avoid proselytism.
Quoting the day’s first reading from 1 Peter 5, he said, “dear friends, clothe yourselves all with humility towards each other, because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Pope Francis also encouraged people to read the Gospel of St. Mark on the evangelist’s feast day if they have time. “It is not long, but it is a pleasure to read the simplicity with which Mark recounts the life of the Lord,” he said.
Before the start of Mass, he remembered those carrying out and assisting with funeral services during the coronavirus pandemic. “What they do is so painful, so sad, and they feel the pain of this pandemic so closely. Let’s pray for them,” he said.
Pope Francis also held a period of Eucharistic adoration and benediction after Mass, leading those following via livestream in making a spiritual communion.