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Christians without fear, shame or triumphalism

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 38, 18 September 2013)


There are “so many Christians without resurrection” in the world today. During the Mass Pope Francis celebrated on Tuesday morning, 10 September, at Santa Marta, he asked the faithful to rediscover the way to the Risen Jesus, letting themselves be “moved by him and by his power”, because Christ “is not a spiritual notion”; he is alive. And by his Resurrection “he conquered the world”.

Commenting on the day’s Reading, the Pope recalled several passages from the Letter to the Colossians in which St Paul speaks of Jesus, whom he describes in various ways: as “the fullness, the centre, hope, because he is the Bridegroom”. Jesus is “the one who conquers, he is the Risen One”. And yet, the Bishop of Rome warned, “we often don’t hear him, we don’t listen properly”; while the Resurrection of Jesus “is the key point” of our faith. The Pontiff referred in particular to those “Christians without the Risen Christ”, those who “accompanied Jesus to the tomb, who wept, who loved him so much”, but were unable to go any further. And in this regard he identified three categories: the fearful, those who felt ashamed and the triumphalistic.

The first, he explained, “are those of Emmaus who on the morning of the Resurrection, depart because they are afraid”; they are the apostles who shut themselves in the Upper Room “for fear of the Jews”; they are even “those good women who weep”, such as Mary Magdalene in tears, “because they have taken away my Lord”.

The second category is that of those “who feel ashamed, and for whom professing that Christ has risen is somewhat embarrassing in this world that is so advanced in the sciences”. In Pope Francis’ opinion it is of them that Paul is thinking when he warns: “be careful that no one deceives you with philosophy and empty deceit, according to worldly elements and not according to Christ”.

Lastly the third group are Christians who in their inner depths “do not believe in the Risen One and want to make a more majestic resurrection than that” of Jesus. The Pope described them as “the triumphalistic”, since “they have an inferiority complex” and put on triumphalistic airs in their life, in their speech, in their pastoral work and in the liturgy”. Pope Francis therefore considers it necessary to recover the awareness that Jesus is the Risen One. And for this reason Christians are called “without timidity or fear and without triumphalism” to look at “his beauty”, to put their finger in the wounds of the Risen One, of that “Christ who is all, who is fullness; Christ who is the centre, Christ who is hope”. At the beginning of the celebration the Pope remembered Archbishop Peter Paul Prabhu, Apostolic Nuncio, who died at the Pius XI Clinic, in the night between Monday the 9th and Tuesday the 10th of September, and who had lived in the Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican.



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