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Faith is not theoretical, but a personal relationship with Jesus, Pope says

April 18, 2013

Faith in Christ means belief in a real person, not a theoretical being, Pope Francis said in his homily at an April 18 Mass for Italian police serving around the Vatican.

The Pope contrasted the Christian understanding of God with the notion of “an intangible essence, mist, or spray,” a god who is “a little bit everywhere but who no one really knows anything about.” On the contrary, he observed, Jesus is a historic person with whom a personal relationship can be formed.

To illustrate his point the Pope alluded to the day’s Scripture reading, which recounted St. Philip’s meeting with the eunuch from the Egyptian court. Although he as “a careerist,” the courtier received and recognized the good news, the Pope said. The Acts of the Apostles record that “he went on his way rejoicing.” Pope Francis remarked: “It is the joy of faith, the joy of having encountered Jesus, the joy that only Jesus gives us, the joy that gives peace.”


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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Apr. 20, 2013 7:30 PM ET USA

    Indeed Pope Francis DOES return us to the simple truths of Christianity, but before the so-called "reformation." A "personal relationship with Jesus Christ..?" In that this Christian recognizes something that our protestant brethren have been saying for some time. Generally it was "they” have their 'personal relationship' and "we" had "the priests, the bishops and the Pope.” What both sides can fail to see is that it is NOT "either/or" but "both/and." May Jesus heal His Church! Ave..!

  • Posted by: unum - Apr. 18, 2013 6:17 PM ET USA

    Pope Francis returns us to the simple truths of Christianity. We cannot feel the love of an "intangible essence". We cannot feel joy from a belief in the Church's teaching. But, we can feel the peace of Christ and know the love shown by His great sacrifice for us. And, we can know true joy as we serve others through our imitation of Christ.