In remarks for his Sunday Angelus address today, Pope Francis has criticized faith that he calls "ornamental," or having only an outward appearance of living a life for Christ. “To live the faith is not to decorate life with a little religion, like a cake is decorated with a little frosting. No! It’s not that. Faith entails choosing God as a fundamental criterion of life, and God is neither meaningless nor neutral. God is love!” Francis taught the crowds in St. Peter's Square today. He said that he realizes that today's Gospel, taken from Luke 12:49-53, in which Jesus says that to truly follow him means that friends and family could be pitted against one another, make living the Gospel a challenge for anyone, especially in today's world.
“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do you think that I came to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, division,'" reminded the Holy Father, but it is not the wish of Jesus that mankind be divided against itself. Having the peace of Christ in one's life does not mean moral neutrality or "compromise at all costs" the Pope said. “To follow Jesus requires renunciation of evil, of egoism, and choosing good, truth, justice. It also requires sacrifice and a renunciation of self-interest,” Francis declared, “live for self, or live for God and others; be served, or serve; obey self, or obey God. And so in this sense Jesus is ‘a sign of contradiction.' The true strength of Christianity is the strength of faith, of love, that involves the renunciation of all violence.” The Holy Father repeated twice that a violent way is not the way of a Christian. “Faith and violence are incompatible,” Francis said. “The Christian is not violent, but he is strong with the force of love.”
“Remember this: follow Jesus: no one else. To follow Jesus means to be involved, because faith is not something decorative. It is the strength of the soul!”