Pope: True Christians Set Out on a Journey of Mission, Service

June 12, 2015

Santa Marta


Journey, service and giving freely of oneself:  true Christian witness encompasses all of these characteristics.  That’s what Pope Francis stressed in his Homily at Santa Marta Thursday.  The Pope said that followers of Jesus are called to serve and to proclaim the Gospel freely – and not to be deceived by the belief that Salvation comes through worldly things.

In his Homily, the Pope drew inspiration from the Gospel passage in which Jesus sends out his disciples to proclaim the Good News. A disciple of the Lord, he said, is called to set out on a journey that is not a "stroll" but a mission to proclaim the Gospel and spread the good news of Salvation.

Announce the Good News through an inner journey

This, he added,  “is the task Jesus gives to his disciples. If a disciple stays still and doesn’t go out, he does not give back to others what he has received in Baptism; he is not a true disciple of Jesus.  He lacks the missionary; he can’t get out of himself [to be able] to bring something good to others ":

"The journey of the disciple of Jesus is to go beyond [the limits] to bring this good news. But there is another pathway for the disciple of Jesus: the inner journey, the path within, the path of the disciple who seeks the Lord every day, through prayer, in meditation.”

If the disciple does not continuously seek God in this way, the Pope said, the Gospel that he takes to others will be weak, watered down – a Gospel with no strength.

A disciple of Jesus who does not serve others is not Christian

"This dual journey,” the Pope said, “is the double path that Jesus wants from his disciples." It also requires service, the Pope stressed.  “A disciple who does not serve others is not Christian. The disciple has to do what Jesus preached in those two pillars of Christianity: the Beatitudes and the 'protocol' on which we shall be judged, Matthew (chapter) 25." These two pillars, he stressed, correctly “frame” evangelical service.

If a disciple is not journeying to serve, there’s no reason for the journey, Pope Francis added. “If his life is not for service, there is no point in living the Christian life [it: non serve, per vivere, come Cristiano].”

One can become boastful and think, “'Yes, I am Christian; I am at peace, I confess, I go to Mass, I fulfill the commandments,'” the Pope cautioned.  But the true disciple is called to service to the other: “service to Jesus in the sick, the imprisoned, the hungry, those with no shirt on their back,” the Pope said. Jesus wants this of us because He is to be found in them:  “Service to Christ in others."

Serve freely vs the deceitfulness of riches

Pope Francis then recalled Jesus’ words to His disciples, "Freely you have received, freely [you must] give." "The journey of service is free,” the Pope stressed, “because we have received Salvation for free, pure grace, none of us has bought salvation, none of us has deserved it. It [comes to us through] pure grace of the Father in Jesus Christ, in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ":

"It 's sad when you find Christians who forget this Word of Jesus:' Freely you have received, freely give',” the Pope added.   “It's sad when you find Christian communities - whether it be parishes, religious congregations, dioceses – which forget this ‘gratuity’ because behind this…there is the deception [to assume] that salvation comes from riches, from human power."

Pope Francis summed up his Homily with these three key words:  “Journey, as a sending off  to announce [the Gospel]. Service: the life of a Christian is not for himself; it is for others, as was the life of Jesus." And the third word, the Pope noted, is “Gratuity” or “Freely:”

“Our hope is in Jesus Christ [so that He] gives us such hope as [that which] never disappoints. " But, he cautioned, "when hope is in how comfortable the journey is, or the hope is in a selfish desire to get things for oneself and not to serve others or when hope is in riches or in the small securities of this world, all this collapses. The Lord himself makes it collapse."

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