Pope Francis expressed these sentiments during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today. The Pope reflected on the first reading, in which St. Paul says that Christians have been “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”
"Our identity is precisely this seal, this power of the Holy Spirit, that we all have received in Baptism,” the Holy Father said.
“This Spirit, that was promised us – that Jesus promised us - this Spirit not only gives us an identity, but it is also a down payment on our inheritance. With Him, Heaven begins. We are already living in this Heaven, this eternity, because we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, which is the very beginning of Heaven: it was our down payment; we have it in hand. We have Heaven in hand with this seal.”
The Pope went on to say that despite this heavenly inheritance, Christians can be tempted at times to “not necessarily cancel out this identity, but dull it down.” In doing so, he said, they become “lukewarm Christians”.
“It is a Christian who, yes, goes to Mass on Sundays, but whose identity is not visible in his way of life. He may even live like a pagan, but he is a Christian,” the Pope said.
“The other sin, of which Jesus spoke to his disciples, and which we heard: 'Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.' 'Pretending': I pretend to be a Christian, but am not. I am not transparent, I say one thing - 'yes, yes I am a Christian' - but I do another, something that is not Christian.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis reminded the faithful of the gifts that come from a Christian life united with the Holy Spirit. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”, he stressed, are the gifts that lead us on this path towards Heaven.
“Let us ask the Lord for the grace to be careful with this seal, with this our Christian identity, which is not only a promise, no, we have it already in hand our hand, we have a down payment,” he concluded.