“The differences and contrasts that create separation should not exist among the faithful in Christ. On the contrary, our vocation is to make concrete and evident the call to unity of the entire human race,” Pope Francis said at the General Audience, commenting further an excerpt from the Letter to the Galatians.
Bianca Fraccalvieri – Vatican City
“We are children of God”: this was the theme of the catechesis of Pope Francis this Wednesday (08/09), in Sala Paul VI, continuing the cycle on the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians. The Apostle urges those Christians not to forget the radical newness of baptism in the lives of the faithful.
“We Christians – the Pope commented – often take this reality of being children of God for granted. On the contrary, it is good to always remember with gratitude the moment in which we became such, that of our baptism, in order to live with greater awareness the great gift received.”
As he has done on numerous occasions, the Pontiff stressed the importance of knowing the date we were baptized and remembering it every year. “If I were to ask today who of you know the date of baptism, I believe that few would raise their hands”, joked Francisco, recommending that the faithful celebrate this memory.
Christ makes all the difference
The sonship of which Paul speaks contains a particularity, he affirms that faith allows us to be children of God “in Christ” (3, 26). It is this “in Christ” that makes the difference, explained Francisco. By his incarnation he became our brother, and by his death and resurrection he reconciled us to the Father.
In his Letters, St. Paul refers to baptism several times. For him, being baptized means participating in an effective and real way in the mystery of Jesus. So it’s not just an external rite. Those who receive it are transformed in the depths of their being, in their depths, and have a new existence, precisely the life that allows them to turn to God and invoke him with the name of “Abba, Father”.
Francis defines as audacious, shocking and revolutionary the statements of the Apostle at the time, because, through baptism, divine filiation prevails over cultural, social and religious differences: “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is neither man nor woman”.
On these concepts, the Pope said with regret that, in the case of slavery, it still exists today: “Millions of people without the right to food, education, work. These are the new slaves, who are on the periphery, exploited by everyone. Slavery still exists today, let’s think about it”.
As for the difference between men and women, the Pontiff condemned expressions of contempt for the female gender. “Man and woman have the same dignity. And there is in history today a slavery of women, women do not have the same opportunities as men.”
human race unit
Paul affirms the deep unity that exists among all the baptized, whatever their condition, because each one of them, in Christ, is a new creature. Every distinction becomes secondary with regard to the dignity of being a child of God. The Pope then concluded:
“Differences and contrasts that create separation should not exist among believers in Christ,” the Pope added, citing “unconscious” situations that we do even within the Church, giving priority to well-dressed people and ignoring those who are in rags.
“Our vocation is to make concrete and evident the call to unity of the entire human race. Everything that exacerbates the differences between people, often causing discrimination, all this, before God, no longer has any substance, thanks to the salvation accomplished in Christ. What counts is the faith that works following the path of unity, indicated by the Holy Spirit. Our responsibility is to decisively follow this path of equality. But the equality that is sustained by the redemption of Jesus.”