Pope Francis' latest weekday sermon is on those who claim to be Christians but lack joy.
Rigidity vs joy?
According to Vatican Radio he said:
"There are people who "masquerade as Christians," and sin by being excessively superficial or overly rigid, forgetting that a true Christian is a person of joy who rests their faith on the rock of Christ. Some think they can be Christian without Christ; others think being Christian means being in a perpetual state mourning...
Rigid and sad. [He goes on to identify this as Pelagianism, but it sounds more like he is talking about the Jansenism to me?] Or happy but with no idea of Christian joy. [He labels this gnosticism, a tendency only too evident amongst liberals caught up in the secularist pursuit of pleasure at any cost] These are two - in a sense opposite - "houses", in which two categories of believers live and which are both seriously flawed: they are grounded in a Christianity made of words and fail to rely on the "rock" of the Word of Christ. Pope Francis identified both groups in his comments on the Gospel of the day, the famous passage from Matthew of the houses built on sand and rock.
"In the history of the Church there have been two classes of Christians: Christians of words - those" Lord, Lord, Lord "- and Christians of action, in truth. There has always been the temptation to live our Christianity not on the rock that is Christ. The only one who gives us the freedom to say 'Father' to God is Christ, our rock. He is the only one who sustains us in difficult times, no? As Jesus said: the rain falls, rivers overflow, winds blow, but the rock is safe, words, the words take flight, they are not needed. But this is the temptation of these Christians of words, of a Christianity without Jesus, a Christianity without Christ. And this has happened and is happening today in the Church: being Christians without Christ. "
..Pope Francis continued that the fact is that there “are so many” of these Christians. But, he argued, "they are not Christians, they disguise themselves as Christians." "They do not know – he added - what the Lord is, they do not know what the rock is, do not have the freedom of Christians. To put it simply ‘they have no joy ":
Ode to joy
Perhaps that was the reason the Ode to Joy, embedded in Beethoven's famous Ninth Symphony was chosen to feature at a certain Roman concert to celebrate the Year of Faith.
Enjoy and celebrate your faith!