There are men, women, fathers and mothers, sick people and priests who practice Jesus’ love every day. There are many hidden saints who give hope. Pope Francis remembered these people at this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House.
Commenting on the Gospel passage about the house that is either built on the rock or on the sand, the Pope invited faithful not to be Christians on the surface, people who disguise themselves Christians, because the minute there’s a bit of rain, the make-up will wash off. A true Christian is he or she who puts the Word of God into practice. Saying you believe is not enough.
“It is not enough belonging to a very Catholic family or an association or being a benefactor if you do not act according to God’s will,” he said. Those who are only Christians on the surface, “give in to the slightest temptation” because “there is no substance there”, they have built their house on the sand. But there are many saints among God’s people – who may not be canonized but they are saints – many men andwomen who practice God’s love. Many”. They have built their house on the rock, which is Christ: “This of little ones eh? Of the sick, who offer their suffering to the Church, to others. Think of the many elderly people who are alone, who pray and give. Think of the many mothers and fathers who work hard for their families, for their children’s education, in their job, tackling problems, never losing hope in Jesus and never showing off but getting on with life as best they can.”
These are our “everyday saints!” the Pope said. “Think of the many priests who lovingly work away in their parishes without showing off: teaching children the catechism, caring for the elderly and the sick, preparing young couples for marriage… Doing the same thing every day, again and again and again. They don’t get bored because their base is the rock, it is Jesus, he who makes the Church holy, he who gives hope!”
“We must reflect carefully on the hidden holiness that exists in the Church,” Francis said. “Christians who remain faithful to Jesus. Sinners, eh? We all are. Sometimes these Christians commit serious sins but they repent, they ask for forgiveness and this is important: the ability to ask for forgiveness, to not confuse sin and virtue, to know where virtue is and where sin is. These have their foundations in the rock, which is Christ. They follow Jesus’ path, they follow Him.”
“The proud, the vain, superficial Christians,” Francis underlined, “they will be brought down, humiliated,” while “the poor will triumph, those who are poor in spirit, who feel nothing before the Lord, the humble, who work toward salvation by putting the Word of the Lord into practice.” “Today we are here, tomorrow we will be gone,” he said before going on to quote St. Bernard: “Consider … what you will be after death … O man … you will be the food of worms.” “Worms will eat away at us all,” the Pope said. “If we do not have this rock, we will be crushed”: “In preparation for Christmas, let us ask the Lord to strengthen our foundations in the rock which is the Lord, our hope lies in Him. We are all sinners, we are weak but if we place our hope in Him, we will move forward. This is a Christian’s joy: knowing that there is hope, forgiveness, peace and joy in Him. Remembering not to place our hope in things that are here today but gone tomorrow.”