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Pope Francis: Conversion is sincere when it reaches your 'pocket'

2014-11-18

In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, the Pope commented on the Gospel which recalls the conversion of Zacchaeus who gave back what he stole with interest. 

Pope Francis jokingly said that when conversion "reaches your pocket” it is sincere, but there are other types of Christians who should convert. An example are those who live for appearances. 

POPE FRANCIS 
"I have a good family, people do not gossip about me, I have everything I need, I married in church ...I am 'in the grace of God', I am alright. Appearances! Christians of appearance ... they are dead!”

The Pope also warned against another type of behavior. That of a lukewarm Christian, who thinks everything is good because nothing is lacking. Those types, the Pope said, God spits out of his mouth. However, he continued, all can still convert and change.

EXCERPTS FROM THE POPE'S HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)

"Am I one of these Christians of appearances? Am I alive inside, do I have a spiritual life? Do I hear the Holy Spirit, do I listen to the Holy Spirit, do I move forward, or ...? But, if everything looks good, I have nothing to reproach myself about: I have a good family, people do not gossip about me, I have everything I need, I married in church ...I am 'in the grace of God', I am alright. Appearances! Christians of appearance ... they are dead! Instead [we must] seek something alive within ourselves, and with memory and vigilance, reinvigorate this so we can move forward. Convert: from appearances to reality. From being neither hot nor cold to fervor". 

"He was just like many leaders we know: corrupt. Those who, instead of serving the people, exploit the people to serve themselves. There are some like this, in the world. And people did not want him. Yes, he wasn’t lukewarm; He was not dead. He was in a state of putrefaction. He was corrupt. But he felt something inside: this healer, this prophet who people say speaks so well, I would like to see him, out of curiosity. The Holy Spirit is clever, eh! He sowed the seed of curiosity, and so in order to seem him this man even does something a little 'ridiculous. Think of an important leader, who is also corrupt, a leader of leaders – he was the chief - climb a tree to watch a procession: Just think of it. How ridiculous!”. 

"When conversion touches pockets, it's a certainty. Christians in heart? Yes, everyone is. Christians by blood? All of us. However, Christians with pockets, very few. But, conversion ... and here, it arrived straight away: the authentic word. He converted. But faced with this word, the words of the others, those who did not want conversion, who did not want to convert: 'Seeing this, they grumbled: 'He has gone to the house of a sinner!': He has dirtied himself, he has lost his purity. He must purify himself because he entered the house of a sinner". 


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