Pope Francis at Mass: Christian witness is salt and light
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning, with the members of the C-9 group of Cardinal-advisors who are working to reform the Church’s central governing apparatus.
In remarks following the Readings of the Day, the Holy Father focused on Christ’s call to all the faithful to be salt and light in and for the world.
Pope Francis began by stressing that the proclamation of the Gospel is “decisive” – that there are no “shades” to saying “yes” or “no” to the Gospel. Any attempt to offer a “nuanced” response to the Gospel will “lead you to seek artificial safety,” as is the case with “casuistry”.
The Holy Spirit leads us to Christian witness
“Yes,” “Salt,” “Light.” These three words – proposed by the Second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians – and highlighted by Pope Francis in his reflections, “indicate the power of the Gospel” that leads to “witnessing and even glorifying God.” In this “Yes,” we find “all the words of God in Jesus, all the promises of God.”
He reiterated that, in Jesus, “everything that has been promised is fulfilled and for this reason He is the fullness”:
“In Jesus there is no ‘no’: always ‘yes,’ for the glory of the Father. But we too share this ‘Yes’ of Jesus, because He has given us the anointing, he has imprinted on us the Seal, has given us the ‘security deposit’ of the Spirit. We participate because we are united, sealed, and have in our hand that security – the security deposit of the Spirit – the Spirit that will bring us to the definitive ‘Yes,’ and also to our own fullness. Also, that same Spirit that will help us to become light and salt, that is to say, it is the Spirit that leads us to give Christian witness.”
“Everything is positive,” said the Pope, “and that Christian witness” is “salt and light.”
“Light,” he explained, “to illuminate – and anyone who hides the light gives counter-testimony,” taking refuge in the “yes” and a little bit of “no.” These, then, “have the light, but do not give it, do not make it to shine forth – and if they do not allow the light they have shine forth, they do not glorify the Father who is in heaven.” Again, he warned, “he has salt, but he takes it for himself and does not give of it that he may avoid corruption.”
Christians are called to be salt and light
“Yes - yes,” and “no-no”: decisive words, as the Lord has taught us, and as Pope Francis reminded the faithful gathered for Mass, “anything extra comes from the Evil One.” It is, “this attitude of security and testimony,” he added, “that the Lord has entrusted to the Church and to all of us baptized”:
“Security in the fullness of promises in Christ: in Christ everything is accomplished. Testimony to others: a gift received from God in Christ, who gave us the anointing of the Spirit that we might be witnesses. This is what it is to be Christian: to illumine, to be of help in seeing that both the message and people are not corrupted – [to preserve] as salt does; but, if the light is hidden, if the salt becomes tasteless, without strength – if it weakens – the testimony will be weak. Only, this is [what happens] when I do not accept the anointing, when I do not accept the seal, when I do not accept that ‘security deposit’ of the Spirit that is in me. And this is done when I do not accept the ‘yes’ in Jesus Christ.”
The Pope went on to say that the Christian proposition is quite simple, but “[al]so decisive and beautiful, and gives us so much hope.” “Am I – let us wonder – light for others? Am I salt for others – that salt, which insists on life and defends it from corruption? Do I cling to Jesus Christ, who is the ‘yes’? Do I feel annointed, sealed? Do I know that I have the security that will be full in Heaven, but at least is with me now as a ‘down payment’ – [i.e.] the Spirit?”
The Christian is “sunny” when he glorifies God with his life
In everyday language, Pope Francis went on to say, “When a person is full of light, we say that person is ‘of a sunny disposition’”:
“We are used to saying ‘There goes someone with a sunny disposition.’ This can help us to understand this. This is even more than a sunny disposition. This is the reflection of the Father in Jesus in whom all promises are fulfilled. This is the reflection of the unction of the Spirit we all have. Why is this so? Why did we receive this? Both readings tell us. Paul says: ‘For this reason, the Amen from us also goes through [Christ] to God for glory,’ and Jesus said to the disciples, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. Thus is the Christian's life.’
Let us ask this grace, concluded the Pope, “to cling, to be rooted in the fullness of the promises in Christ Jesus who is the ‘yes’, totally ‘yes’, and to bring this fullness with the salt and light of our testimony to others to give Glory to the Father who is in heaven.”