VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Going to Mass regularly, praying and doing good works are not enough to make a person a good Christian, Pope Francis said.
One must truly enter into the mystery of Jesus Christ’s precious gift of “loving me” so much, “he gave himself” and was crucified and died for everyone’s sins, the pope said in his homily at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae Oct. 24.
It might be possible to find someone who would be willing to die for another person who was good and righteous, the pope said. But only Jesus Christ was willing to give his life “for a sinner like me.”
That is the mystery that Christians must pray and reflect upon because it defies all understanding and logic, he said.
People may think of themselves as “a good Christian, ‘I go to Mass every Sunday, I do works of mercy, I recite prayers, I educate my children.’ And this is great,” he said. “But the question I have is, ‘You do all of this, but have you ever entered into the mystery of Jesus Christ?'”
In the day’s first reading from the book of Romans, St. Paul pondered the great gift of God’s grace and its power to “overflow for the many.” If sin and death came to humanity because of “the transgression of the one” with original sin, how much more abundant is the grace of eternal life with the one righteous act of Jesus, the apostle wrote.
“Entering into the mystery of Jesus takes more” than listening to the Gospel and understanding the catechism and church teaching, the pope said. “It is abandoning oneself to that abyss of mercy where there are no words, only the embrace of love. The love that led him to his death for us.”
The pope suggested people meditate on the Way of Cross at home, reflecting on each moment of the Lord’s passion. Reflect and imagine, he said, “and that way seek to understand with the heart that he loved me and gave himself for me.”