Pope Francis lamented on Tuesday that there are many following Christianity in a confused way, forgetting that Jesus is the only true way or path. He said these include the motionless or 'mummified' Christians, the vagabond and stubborn Christians and the Christians who stop half way along their journey. The Pope was speaking during his homily at morning Mass celebrated in the Santa Marta residence.
Taking his inspiration from the Gospel reading where Jesus tells the Apostles that “I am the way,” Pope Francis reflected on the need for Christians to consistently follow Jesus and not get waylaid or blocked on their journey of faith. He said there are many different types of Christians who are following Jesus in a confused manner like the embalmed mummy Christian, the vagabond Christian, the stubborn Christian and the halfway Christian.
Turning to an examination of these different types of Christians, the pope pointed first to the Christian who doesn’t move or journey forward and who gives the idea, he said, of being like an (embalmed) mummy.
“Christians who stay still, who don't go forward, are non-Christian Christians. We don’t know exactly what they are. They are slightly ‘paganized’ Christians: who are there, who stay still and don’t go forward in their Christian lives, who don’t make the Beatitudes bloom in their lives, who don’t do works of mercy… they are motionless. Excuse me for saying it, but they are like an (embalmed) mummy, a spiritual mummy there. There are Christians who are ‘spiritual mummies,’ motionless, there. They don’t do evil but they don’t do good things.”
Moving next to the profile of the stubborn Christian, the pope said these types of Christians realize that they are taking the wrong direction but worst still they insist it’s the right path and don’t heed the voice of our Lord, telling them to turn back and take the right path. The next category, he explained, is the vagabond Christian who travels here and there but doesn’t know where he or she is going.
“They are wanderers in the Christian life, vagabonds. During their life they turn here and there and thus lose the beauty of drawing close to Jesus in the Jesus’ life. They lose their way because they are constantly turning and often this turning is wrong and takes them to a dead end. Turning so many times, (the road) becomes a labyrinth and then they don’t know how to get out. They have lost that call from Jesus. They don't have a compass to get out and they keep on turning and searching. There are other Christians who whilst journeying are seduced by the beauty of an object and they stop halfway, fascinated by what they see, by some idea, a proposal or a landscape. And they stop! Christian life is not a fascination: it’s the truth! It’s Jesus Christ!”
After looking at these different types of Christians, Pope Francis said we’d do well to examine our own lives and question whether we too have stopped or lost our way. Are we standing in front of the things that we like such as worldliness and vanity or are we journeying forward and “putting into practice the beatitudes and works of mercy” in our daily life. He concluded by saying that Jesus’ way “is full of consolations, glory and also the cross. But always with peace in our souls.”
“We remain here today with that question: let’s do it for just five minutes…How am I doing on this Christian journey? Am I standing still, making mistakes, turning here and there, stopping in front of the things that I like, or (am I following) Jesus 'I who am the way?' And let us implore the Holy Spirit to teach us to journey along the right road, always! And when we get tired, a little rest and then we go forward again. Let us ask for this grace.”