VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis told the faithful gathered for the Sunday Angelus that they must live a Christian life rather than let Christianity become a mere label in their lives.
“In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that to be a Christian is not to have a ‘label’ but to live and testify to faith in prayer, in works of charity, in the promotion of justice, in doing good,” Pope Francis told the audience gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Aug. 25.
Jesus himself is the way to a truly lived faith, explained the Holy Father.
Sunday’s Gospel reading included the story of a man who asks Jesus if there are few who will be saved.
“Jesus doesn’t respond directly to the question: It is not important to know how many will be saved, but, above all, it is important to know the way of salvation,” the Pope said. “Jesus tells us that there is a door to enter into the family of God. This door is Jesus.”
He added that Jesus offers himself as the way of salvation to all.
“Everyone is invited to enter this door, to go through the door of faith, to enter into his life and to allow Jesus into their lives, so that he may transform them, renew them and give them full and lasting joy,” Francis said.
The Pope went on to say that today there are many doors “inviting us to enter, promising instant happiness, which is an end in itself and has no future.”
But Jesus, he said, “shines a light in our lives that never goes out. It is more than just a flash.”
Pope Francis encouraged Christians not to be afraid to enter the door of faith in Jesus, and “let him enter more and more into our lives, to get out of our selfishness, our being closed off, our indifference towards others.”
This way of Jesus is “narrow,” Francis said, because “[Jesus] asks us to open our hearts to him, to recognize ourselves as sinners in need of his salvation, his forgiveness, his love, and to have the humility to accept his mercy and let us be renewed by him.”
The Pope then led the crowds in the Angelus prayer. He also spoke of his concern for the continuing situation of violence in Syria.
“From the depths of my heart, I wish to express my closeness in prayer and solidarity to all the victims of this conflict, to all those who suffer, especially the children,” he said.
“Let us pray together: ‘Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.’”