Francis: Let us not privatise salvation like the elites do

God saves each human individually but at the same time as part of his “people”, “parish” or “community”.

Feb 06, 2015

VATICAN: God saves each human individually but at the same time as part of his “people”, “parish” or “community”. So it is “a very serious mistake” for a Christian to see salvation as being exclusively theirs and for their own “little group” made up of people “who believe they are being good Christians but instead “have privatized salvation” as is the case with certain “ecclesial elites”. This was the central message of the Pope’s homily on the Jan 29 morning Mass in St Martha’s House.

Commenting on the Letter of St Paul to the Hebrews, Francis said, “Jesus is the new and living way that we must follow. Jesus gives us the criteria to avoid following the wrong models. And one of these wrong models is privatizing Salvation.”

“It’s true, Jesus has saved us all. Everyone. And this is personal salvation. Really I am saved, the Lord looked at me, He gave His life for me, opened this door, this new path for me, and each of us can say ‘for me.’ But there is a danger of forgetting that He saved us individually, but as part of a people. A people. The Lord always saves the people. From the moment when He called Abraham, when He promised to make a people. And the Lord saves us as part of a people. This is why the author of this Letter tells us: ‘we must encourage one another.’ There is no salvation for me alone. If I understand salvation in this way, I am wrong, I have taken the wrong path. The privatization of salvation is the wrong path.”

The Pope gave three criteria for not privatising salvation: “Faith in Jesus who purifies us, hope that stirs us to look at his promises and go forward and charity, taking care of each other, to encourage us all to practise charity and good works.... And when I’m in a parish, in a community — or whatever it is — I am there, I can privatize salvation and be there only on a small social level. But in order not to privatize salvation, I need to ask myself if I speak and communicate the faith, speak and communicate hope, speak, practise and communicate charity. If within a particular community there is no communication between people and no encouragement is given to everybody to practise these three virtues, the members of that community have privatized their faith. Each of them is looking for his or her personal salvation, not the salvation of everybody, the salvation of their people. And Jesus saved all of us but as part of his people, within a Church.” The Pope pointed out that St. Paul “gave some very important practical advice: ‘Do not absent yourself from your own assemblies, as some do.’ This happens when we’re at such assemblies, in the parish or community and we judge the others, when there’s this kind of scorn towards the others. ”

This, Pope Francis stressed, is not the new and living way of Jesus. “They scorn the others, they stay away from the community as a whole, they stay away from the people of God, they have privatized salvation: salvation is for me and my small group, but not for all the people of God. And this is a very serious mistake. It’s what we see and call: ‘the ecclesial elites.’ When these small groups are created within the community of God’s people, these people believe they are being good Christians and also are acting in good faith maybe, but they are small groups who have privatized salvation.

“God saves us in a people, not in the elites, that we have created in our philosophies or our understanding of the faith. And these are not the graces of God. Then ask yourself, if I have a tendency to privatize salvation for me, for my group, for my elite or whether I desert all the people of God, do I walk away from the people of God or am I always in the community, family, with the language of faith, hope, and the language of the works of charity?”

“May the Lord,” Francis prayed, concluding his homily, “give us the grace to increasingly feel ourselves part of the people of God, personally saved. That’s true: He saves us by name, but we are saved as a people, not in the group that I make for myself.” -- Vatican Insider

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