Essentially, the pope argued that unless lay Catholics are willing to courageously live and proclaim their faith, the church risks turning into a “babysitter” for sleeping children.
Pope Francis was speaking to the mostly lay employees of the Vatican bank in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where his morning Masses have become daily teaching moments.
He referred to the day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles on the evangelizing efforts of the earliest Christians, who traveled from place to place proclaiming the Gospel.
“They were a simple faithful, baptized just a year or so before – but they had the courage to go and proclaim,” he said.
“I think of us, the baptized: do we really have this strength – and I wonder – do we really believe in this? Is baptism enough? Is it sufficient for evangelization? Or do we rather ‘hope’ that the priest should speak, that the bishop might speak … and what of us? Then, the grace of baptism is somewhat closed, and we are locked in our thoughts, in our concerns. Or sometimes think: ‘No, we are Christians, I was baptized, I made Confirmation, First Communion … I have my identity card all right. And now, go to sleep quietly, you are a Christian.’ But where is this power of the Spirit that carries us forward?”
The pope said Christians today need to “be faithful to the Spirit, to proclaim Jesus with our lives, through our witness and our words.”
“When we do this, the church becomes a mother church that produces children…. But when we do not, the church is not the mother, but the babysitter, that takes care of the baby – to put the baby to sleep. It is a church dormant. Let us reflect on our baptism, on the responsibility of our baptism.”
In his remarks during the audience, Francis spoke on the Ascension of Jesus. He said it does not mean that Christ is absent to humanity, but rather that he’s present “in a new way.”
“We are never alone; the crucified and risen Lord guides us, and with us there are many brothers and sisters who in silence and obscurity, in their family life and work, in their problems and difficulties, their joys and hopes, live their faith every day and, together with us, bring to the world the lordship of God’s love, in the risen Christ, ascended to heaven, an advocate for us,” the pope said.
Sing your baptism
You have been given the song
The Wind of the Spirit will fill your lungs
But the notes are yours to form.
Copyright 2013 Joann Nelander
He rides the Wind in power and right,
Born of Eternal Light.
All goodness follow in His train,
Like comet tails, falling stars,
That fire my night.
Here light upon my soul and nest,
As spirit bird, find place of rest,
Spreading feathered wing
As shelter, and friend,
To Godly bless.
Stirring, fan the embers of my love,
To blaze anew in fire from above
Transforming dust and dross,
To forge one who walks
Amongst the flame, O Holy Dove.
©2013 Joann Nelander