Pope Francis said in this morning’s homily: “lukewarm Christians who have lost the memory and enthusiasm of their first encounter with Christ are in grave danger of letting the devil into their homes. Christians must always retain that memory of their first meeting with Christ and their hope in Him to help them go forward with the courage of their faith … somebody who no longer remembers his or her first meeting with Jesus is an empty and spiritually inert person, as only lukewarm people can be. The day of that first encounter with Christ, he stressed, must never be forgotten … Our memory is so important for recalling the grace received because if we chase away that enthusiasm which comes from the memory of that first love, this enthusiasm coming from that first love, then a huge danger arrives for Christians: a lukewarm faith; lukewarm Christians … They’re there, immobile …and yes, they are Christians, but they have lost the memory of that first love. And they have also lost their enthusiasm. In addition, they have lost their patience, to tolerate life’s problems with the spirit of Jesus’ love, to tolerate and to bear on their shoulders the difficulties…. Lukewarm Christians, poor things, they’re in grave danger … When I think about lukewarm Christians I am struck by two distasteful images: the one described by Peter who talks of the dog that returns to its own vomit and the other described by Jesus of people who chase away the devil and decide to follow the gospel but when the devil later returns with reinforcements they open their doors of their house to him … this is like returning to the vomit of that evil that was earlier rejected and vice-versa … A Christian has these two parameters: memory and hope. We must evoke our memory so as not to lose the beautiful experience of that first love which feeds our hope. Many times that hope is in darkness but a Christian still goes ahead. He or she believes and goes forward because they know that hope never disappoints us in finding Jesus. These two parameters are the very frames within which we can safeguard the salvation of the good people which comes from the Lord … This salvation must be protected in order that the tiny mustard seed will grow and bear fruit. It is painful and heart-breaking to see so many Christians - so many Christians! – half-way along the road, so many Christians who have failed along this road towards a meeting with Jesus, going away from this encounter with Jesus. This road where they have lost the memory of that first love and no longer have any hope.”
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.