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Pope: Lukewarm Christians hurt the Church


(Vatican Radio) All Christians have a duty to pass on the faith with courage, lukewarm Christians, a lukewarm faith hurts the Church, because it creates divisions. The courage to be Christian in today’s society was the focus of Pope Francis homily Friday morning in Casa Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports: RealAudioMP3

Pope Francis concelebrated with Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and mass was attended by the Pontifical Swiss Guard with their commander Daniel Rudolf Anrig. On Sunday May 6th, the guard will hold their annual celebration, commemorating the last stand of 1527 with Mass and the swearing in of new recruits.

At the end of the celebration, Pope Francis addressed a special greeting them, describing their service as "is a beautiful testimony of fidelity to the Church" and "love for the Pope."

In his homily which focused on the readings of the day, Pope Francis said 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”.

Pope Francis continued saying that “Christ is alive and is also alive among us”, reiterating that Christians must have the courage to proclaim His Resurrection, the Good News. But, he added there is also 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 ... ".

The Pope recalled how we read in the Bible that Abraham and Moses have the courage to "negotiate with the Lord." A courage "in favor of others, in favor of the Church" which we also need 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!".