The Pope today invited Christians “to abandon any attitude of laziness, apathy, indifference and closure and to welcome the fire of God’s love”.
Driving the news
Francis was speaking at his recital Sunday of the midday Angelus prayer from a window of the Apostolic Palace, in the Vatican.
“Jesus reveals to his friends, and also to us, his most ardent desire: to bring to the Earth the fire of the Father’s love”, the Pope said in his catechesis.
“Jesus calls us to spread this fire in the world, for which we will be recognized as his true disciples”, Francis explained, adding that “the fire of love, lit by Christ in the world through the Holy Spirit, is a fire without limits: it is a universal fire”.
Since the earliest days of Christianity, the Pope recalled, “the testimony of the Gospel has spread like a beneficial fire, overcoming every division between individuals, social categories, peoples and nations”.
“The testimony of the Gospel burns, burns every form of particularism and maintains charity open to all, with a preference for the poorest and the excluded”, the Pope said.
Thanking the young people of the Northern hemisphere who have devoted their summer to helping the sick, poor and disabled, Francis said that “with adoration of God and service to others – both together, worshipping God and serving others – the Gospel truly manifests itself as the fire that saves, that changes the world starting from the change of the heart of each one”.
The Pope added that the example of Jesus “breaks the facile illusions of those who believe they can combine Christian life and worldliness, Christian life and compromises of all kinds, religious practices and attitudes against others”.
The authentic Christian life, Francis said, “is a question of not living in a hypocritical way, but of being willing to pay the price for coherent choices”.
“Consistency: paying the price of being consistent with the Gospel”, he insisted.
“Because it’s good to call ourselves Christians, but above all we must be Christians in concrete situations, bearing witness to the Gospel which is essentially love for God and for our brothers and sisters”, the Pope explained.
For the record
What this being Christian “in concrete situations” means the Pope explained in a message Saturday to participants in a friendship meeting taking place in the Italian city of Rimini.
“Let us think about the thousands of individuals who every day flee war and poverty”, insisted Francis in the message signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
“They are not just numbers, but faces, persons, names, and histories. We must never forget them, especially when our throw-away culture marginalises, discriminates, and uses them, threatening their human dignity”.
Last Thursday the Pope explained, too, all that Christians can achieve when they live authentically.
In a message to Catholics in Paris on the first Assumption Day after the devastating blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral in April, the Pope prayed that the reconstruction of the Virgin’s “architectural jewel” in the French capital “might be a powerful sign of the rebirth and revitalization of the faith”.
“Full of hope”, the Pope continued, believers will be for their families and communities “builders of a new humanity rooted in Christ”.