The Pope has been very vocal about people who pay lip service to their Christian faith.  Recently in a very publicized statement Pope Francis said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, and not building bridges is not a Christian. This is not the gospel.” A few days later in Rome he said, “Christianity is not a religion of mere talk.”

The Holy Father has been challenging all of us to live what we believe, not just to talk about it. He called people who merely present themselves as members of the church, but do nothing to try to live what the church teaches and believes as “fake.” These are very strong words indeed. Calling oneself a Christian or a Catholic carries with it “and obligation and responsibility.” This responsibility is clearly stated in the Gospels. Simply put to service the poor and needy.

Catholicism is not a religion of mere talk. Our faith also motivates us into action. In Mathew 25, 31-46 we hear Jesus taking about this particular point. In this passage Jesus tells us very clearly what He expects his followers to do, and on what conditions we will be judged at the end of the world. “I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was away from home and you gave me no welcome, I was naked and you gave me no clothing. I was ill and in prison and you gave me  no comfort.”

Clearly our belief in God, our membership in the church motivates to be believers who are called to action.

Clearly our belief in God, our membership in the church motivates to be believers who are called to action. Yes, there are people who talk about things, and others who actually do things. What the Pope is telling us is that if we actually believe in God we will not be silent or still. True belief calls us to Christian action.

All of us can be challenged, because all of us can call ourselves Christians who should be doing more to help God’s children. What the Pope is saying that we must strengthen our faith to the point where Christian action is a normal part of that faith. “Talk only” or “fake” Christians must actually start their conversation from “all talk” to “action” with prayer and worship. Prayer is the backbone of every Christian. Without it we may look good on the surface but we won’t be able to move.

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This article was published in The Church and Life Newspaper, January 2017.