09/04/2014, 00.00
VATICAN
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Pope: Decadent churches are the result of Christians who never encountered Jesus or who have forgotten that encounter

"The power of the Word of God is in this encounter between my sins and the blood of Christ, that saves me. And when there is no encounter, there is no strength of heart". "What can a Christian boast about? Two things: their sins and the crucified Christ".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - " The power of the Word of God is in this encounter between my sins and the blood of Christ, that saves me. And when there is no encounter, there is no strength of heart".  Moreover, decadent churches, decadent parishes and decadent institutions are the result of Christians who never encountered Jesus or who have forgotten that encounter".

The encounter between our sins and Christ who saves us, the driving force of Christian life was the focus of Pope Francis' homily at Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Peter and Paul, he said, help us understand that a Christian can boast of two things: "their sins and Christ crucified". The transforming power of the Word of God is born of this awareness. Pope Francis reflected on the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians which reads: "If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool, so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God". Paul - he said - is telling us that it is the power of God's Word that brings about a true change of heart, that has the strength  to change the world, giving us hope, giving us life. He pointed out that this power is not to be found in human knowledge or in man's intelligence. "Become fools" - Francis exhorted - don't search for security in your knowledge or in the knowledge of the world".

And the Pope said that although Paul had studied with the most knowledgeable teachers of his time, he never boasted of his knowledge. In a "scandalous" way - Francis said - he boasted of his sins and of his encounter with Christ and the crucifix, because that encounter between his sins and the blood of Christ is the only salvific encounter there is. And when we forget that encounter - the Pope said - we lose the power of Christ's strength and we speak of the things of God with a human language, And  this - he said - is useless because it does not give life.

Peter, too - in the Gospel of the miraculous catch - experiences an encounter with Christ through recognizing his sins: he sees the power of Jesus and sees himself. He throws himself at His feet, saying, "Lord, leave me for I am a sinful man". Salvation lies in this encounter between Christ and my sin. "The privileged place for the encounter with Jesus Christ is our sins. If a Christian is not capable of recognizing himself as a sinner saved by the Cross of Christ  then he is a half-way Christian, is a lukewarm Christian. When we find decadent churches, decadent parishes, decadent institutions, these are clearly the result of Christians who have never encountered Jesus Christ or they have forgotten that encounter with Jesus Christ. The driving force of the Christian life and the power of the Word of God it is at that moment where I, a sinner, encounter Jesus Christ and this encounter turns my life on its head, it changes your life ... it gives you the strength to proclaim salvation to others".

 Pope Francis concluded his homily inviting the faithful to ask themselves whether they are capable of telling the Lord they are sinners; whether they really believe  the Lord has given them a new life; whether they trust in Christ. Because - he said - a Christian can be boastful of two things: of his sins and of Christ on the Cross.

 

 

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