VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians must ask themselves whether they help people in need of salvation or whether they just keep Jesus for themselves and are deaf or indifferent to others, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.
“It would be good for us to have an examination of conscience” and see if we are Christians who bring people to Christ or push them away, the pope said May 28 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Three kinds of Christians exist, he said: those who are so closed up inside themselves, they are not aware of others in need; those who hear the “clamor” of suffering but choose to do nothing about it; and those who do hear and help bring people healing.
Christians who are indifferent “do not hear. They believe life is there in their little group. They’re content. They’re deaf to the clamor of so many people who need salvation, who need Jesus’ help, who need the church,” the pope said.
Such Christians are “self-centered, living for themselves. They are unable to hear the voice of Jesus,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.
Another category of Christians includes those who hear people crying for help, “but want them to be quiet,” like in the day’s Gospel reading when the disciples rebuked Bartimaeus, the blind man, who cried out for Jesus, or when the disciples shooed away the children so they would not disturb their master.
Jesus “was for them, he was not for everyone,” and so the disciples distanced people from Jesus — people who needed faith and salvation, the pope said.
People who exploit the church or religion for their own benefit or purposes also fit into this category, he said.
“They are Christians in name only, armchair Christians,” he said, “but their inner life is not Christian, it is worldly.”
The third category of Christians, he said, is made up of “those who help (people) get closer to Jesus.”
“There’s the group of Christians who are consistent with what they believe and what they live,” and they help those who are crying out for salvation, grace and spiritual healing, he said.
The pope ended his homily by asking people to reflect on what kind of Christian they are and whether they bring others closer to Jesus or distance them from him.