“It ‘s true, there is sin, and sin makes us fall, but we have the Lord’s strength to get up and go with our identity. But I would also say that sin is part of our identity: we are sinners, but sinners with faith in Jesus Christ. It is not only a faith of knowledge, no. It is a faith that is a gift from God and that came into us by God.”
It’s important to safeguard the Christian identity, said the Pope. He added that some seem to always seek a new Christian identity. He criticized those who wait for a sign, and said that Christian identity isn’t about “receiving a letter from Our Lady at 4:00 p.m.”
What exactly is our Christian identity? Pope Francis asked at the start of his homily, inviting his listeners to think of it as “a long journey” from ambiguity to a strong faith that we can bear witness to in our daily lives. It is true that we are sinners, he said, and that we fall down, but with God’s strength we can get up again and continue our journey. “Sin is part of our identity”, he stressed, but we are sinners with faith in God “who has anointed us, put his seal upon us” and given us the Holy Spirit as a pledge in our hearts.
Christians, the Pope said, are not people who follow a particular philosophy, but rather those who remain faithful to this God-given identity as the anointed ones who let the Spirit into their hearts.
The beauty of this identity, he said, can be seen through the way we bear witness to the world. But he warned of several ways in which this witness can be weakened or watered down: firstly by moving from our concrete faith in Christ to a kind of insipid religion of just prayers and ideas, along the lines of the Gnostics in the ancient world. These “modern Gnostics”, Pope Francis said, are tempted to avoid the scandal of the Cross and are content to seek God through their “rather ethereal Christian spirituality.”