“The Christian is a Christian not because he can show the faith of baptism: the faith of baptism is an ID card. You are a Christian if you say yes to the election that God has made of you, if you go behind the promises that the Lord has made to you and if you live a covenant with the Lord: this is Christian life.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – We must ask Mother Teresa awaken in us solidarity for the 'hidden' people, like the homeless, was Pope Francis introductory prayer to Mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
He said: "These days of sorrow and sadness highlight so many hidden problems. There was a heartbreaking photo in the paper today: So many homeless people in a city, huddling in a parking lot... there are so many homeless people today. We ask Santa Teresa di Calcutta to awaken in us the sense of solidarity for the many people who live in society in normal life, but who, like the homeless, at the time of the crisis, live hidden like this”.
In the homily he commented on today's readings, taken from the Book of Genesis (Gn 17, 3-9) and from the Gospel of John (Jn 8, 51-59) which have at the center the figure of Abraham, the covenant with God and the new proclamation of Jesus who comes to "redo" creation by forgiving our sins.
After reading the Antiphon for Thursday of the fifth week of Lent, the Pope said it is an invitation to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and on hope that never disappoints.
“Christ is the mediator of the new Covenant so that, through His death, those who have been called may receive the eternal inheritance that has been promised them," he said.
Commenting on the readings of the Day, from the Book of Genesis and from the Gospel according to John, the Pope noted they both focus on the figure of Abraham, on the Covenant with God and on how Jesus comes to “remake” creation by forgiving our sins.
“The Lord has made us a promise and now He asks us to enter into a Covenant, a Covenant of faithfulness,” he said.
We are Christians, Pope Francis explained, "because we are elected, chosen by God, and we have received a promise of fruitfulness, to which we must respond with fidelity to the Covenant.”
“A Christian isn't someone who can just show their baptismal certificate. A certificate of baptism is just a piece of paper. You are a Christian if you say ‘yes’ to the election of the Lord, if you follow the promise that the Lord has made to you and if you live the Covenant with God. This is the Christian life,” he said.
The Pope explained that our sins are against three dimensions: not accepting the election by worshipping idols, not hoping for the promise, and forgetting the Covenant.
The Lord, he reminded the faithful, always remembers His Covenant, and never forgets His people.
“He only forgets in one case, when He forgives sins. After forgiving He loses his memory, He doesn't remember those sins. In other cases, God doesn't forget. His faithfulness is memory. His faithfulness to His people. His faithfulness to Abraham is the memory of the promises He made,” said the Pope.
Elaborating on the fact that each one of us is a chosen one, and that in this election there is the promise of hope and the sign of fruitfulness, the Pope recalled that when the Lord told Abraham He had chosen him to be “the father of a multitude of nations,” He also told him to be fruitful in faith “which will flourish in good works,” and to “observe the Covenant with me".
Pope Francis concluded saying “This is the revelation that the Word of God gives us today about our Christian existence. Let it be like that of our Father: conscious of being chosen, joyful in going towards a promise and faithful in making the Covenant.”
The celebration ended - like every morning - with adoration and Eucharistic blessing.