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Pope at Santa Marta: Christian identity is not an identification card saying “I'm a Christian”

During his homily at Casa Santa Marta Pope Francis said “discipleship is a Christian's true identity.”

Christian identity is not an identification card saying, 'I'm Christian.' No. It's discipleship. If you remain in the Lord, in the Word of the Lord, in the life of the Lord, you will be a disciple. If you don't remain, you will be someone who sympathizes with the doctrine, who follows Jesus as a man who performs many charitable acts.

He explained that this is the path to freedom and life that Jesus reveals. He said discipleship is the anointing given to those who remain in the Lord.


(Source: Vatican News)

In his homily, the pope focused on the struggle between Jesus and the Doctors of the Law over His identity. Jesus, he said, ultimately backs them into a corner, and they resort to insults and blasphemy.

For those who believe in Him, Jesus says, “If you remain in my Word you will indeed be my disciples” (Jn 8:31). The word “remain” is an important one. Jesus repeats it often, including at the Last Supper. Pope Francis noted that the Lord does not emphasize studying and learning. Jesus takes that for granted. Instead, the pope said the most important thing is “remaining” in Jesus and in His Word.

Returning to a familiar image, Pope Francis said that being a Christian is not a matter of having some kind of identification, an identity card that says, “I am Christian.” Christian identity is discipleship. “If you remain in the Lord, in the Word of the Lord, in the life of the Lord, you will be a disciple,” the pope said. If, on the other hand, you do not remain in Him, you can appreciate doctrine, and follow Jesus as a good and charitable man, but you will not be a disciple.

It is precisely Christian discipleship that makes us free, the pope said. “The disciple is someone who is free because they remain in the Lord.” Pope Francis explained that being a disciple means allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit. “That is why the disciple is always a person of tradition and of novelty, a free person… never subject to ideologies, to doctrines within the Christian life, doctrines that can be discussed. That person remains in the Lord, it is the Spirit who inspires them.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily by asking that the Lord might help us “to understand this wisdom of remaining in Him, and help us to understand familiarity with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us freedom.” This, said the pope, is an anointing, “and discipleship is an anointing. Those who remain in the Lord receive it.”

Daniel Díaz Vizzi
Translation: Claudia Torres