VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christianity isn’t a philosophy or guide to survival, good behavior and peace, it’s a relationship with a real person who died on the cross for our sins, Pope Francis said.
“Christianity can’t be understood without understanding this deep humiliation of the son of God, who abased himself, becoming a servant to the point of his death and death on the cross” in order to serve humanity, the pope said.
In his homily April 8 during an early morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis focused on the day’s reading from the Book of John (8:21-30), in which Jesus tells the Pharisees and the Jews that those who belong to this world and do not believe in him “will die in your sins.”
Jesus tells them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am,” the son of God, obeying God’s will.
“Christianity doesn’t exist without the cross and a cross doesn’t exist without Jesus Christ,” the pope said, according to a report by Vatican Radio.
The cross, however, “isn’t an ornament” that is just placed in churches and on altars, and “it’s not a symbol” of identification, he said.
“The cross is the mystery, the mystery of God’s love, who lowers himself, who makes himself ‘nothing'” and takes on humanity’s sins, he said.
If people want to find their sins, he said, they should look to the cross, to “the Lord’s wounds,” and it’s there that their sins will be healed and forgiven.
God’s forgiveness doesn’t mean “the debt we have with him is erased: the forgiveness that God gives us are the wounds of his son on the cross, lifted up on the cross, in which he pulls us toward him and we let ourselves be healed.”
Jesus took everything upon himself, “all of our sins, our pride, our self-assurance, our vanity, our desire to become like God,” the pope said. That is why “a Christian who doesn’t know how to glory in the crucified Christ hasn’t understood what being a Christian means.”
“Christianity isn’t a philosophical doctrine, it isn’t a guide to life for survival, for being well-behaved and for building peace. These are the results,” he said. “Christianity is a person, a person lifted up on the cross, a person who abased himself to save us.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Praying Lent: Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
NEXT: Pope: God upholds his law, but he forgives, doesn’t browbeat sinners
Share this story