VATICAN CITY — Lukewarm Christians try to build a Church that conforms to their own common sense and see too much risk in following Jesus, Pope Francis said.
“They are Christians of good sense only: They keep their distance. Christians, so to speak, who are ‘satellites,’ that have a Church small in size. To quote the words of Jesus in Revelation, (they are) ‘lukewarm Christians,’” the Pope said at the April 20 morning Mass in the chapel of St. Martha’s residence.
“They walk only in the presence of common sense. ... This is a temptation (to use) just worldly prudence,” he added.
He delivered his homily on the Gospel reading from John 6 in which Jesus declares that unless believers eat his flesh and drink his blood they will not have eternal life.
Participants in the Mass included volunteers from the Vatican’s St. Martha pediatric dispensary, along with the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, who run the outreach.
“These people have turned away. … They say, ‘This man is a bit strange; he says things that are hard,’” the Pope said, referring to the Gospel reading.
“‘It’s too big a risk to go down this road. … Let’s go back a little and not (be) so close to him.’ These people, perhaps, had a certain admiration for Jesus, but ... from afar," the Pope said.
But “these Christians are not united in the Church; they do not walk in God’s presence; they don’t have the security of the Holy Spirit; they do not make up the Church,” he stated, describing them as “Christian satellites.”
Today, the Pope noted, there are so many Christians who “bear witness to the name of Jesus, even unto martyrdom.”
And these believers are not "Christian satellites," because “they go with Jesus on the path of Jesus,” the Holy Father said.
Reflecting on the first reading that described the life of the early Christians, Pope Francis pointed out that the first believers went through a period of persecution.
“It is a style of the Church. To walk in the fear of the Lord is a sense of adoration. ... When we are in the presence of God, we do not do bad things or make bad decisions,” he said.
Being “in God’s sight with joy and happiness: This is the security of the Holy Spirit; that is the gift that the Lord has given us — this comfort — that keeps us going,” the Pope preached.
“Let us pray for the Church,” he said, that it “will continue to grow, unite, to walk in the fear of God and with the security of the Holy Spirit.
“May the Lord deliver us from the temptation of that ‘common sense’ and … the temptation to whisper against Jesus, ‘Because it is too demanding’ and from the temptation of scandal.”