Reflections on Atheists, Christians, and Who Will Be Saved

I have received numerous calls and messages throughout the day yesterday and again today regarding Pope Francis’ daily homily in the Chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae on Wednesday May 22, 2013. The homily was inspired by the passage in the Gospel of Mark (9:38-40) in which the disciples tell Jesus that they tried to stop someone from driving out demons because he was not one of their party. Jesus rebukes them saying: “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”

In one section of his homily, Pope Francis stated: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”