Vatican City — "Everyday saints" are those for whom faith is not just about appearances, who do not go around strutting like peacocks, but who live God's love even in the midst of struggle, Pope Francis said.
Those who are only "apparent Christians," who put on the faith as if it were makeup, will see that with the first rain the facade will be washed away, the pope said Thursday at his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.
"Many 'apparent Christians' crumble with the first temptation," he said, because "there's no substance there." They have built their faith on sand, like the person in the day's Gospel reading from the seventh chapter of Luke.
Those who built on the rock of Jesus are the many saints -- "not necessarily canonized, but saints -- men and women who put into practice the love of Jesus."
The "everyday saints," he said, are "the sick who offer their suffering for the church and for others," they are the elderly who pray for others and "the many moms and dads who keep their families going in the midst of struggle, raising their children, working, facing problems, but always with hope in Jesus. They don't strut, but they do what they can."
Pope Francis said the "everyday saints" include "many priests who are hidden away, but work in their parishes with a lot of love: catechesis for children, caring for the elderly and the sick, preparing people for marriage. And every day is the same, the same, the same, but they do not get bored because their foundation is the rock, Jesus."
The holiness of everyday saints, he said, "gives holiness to the church and that gives hope!"
The fact that those same people make mistakes and sin, the pope said, does not destroy their witness. "If sometimes one of these Christians commits a serious sin, but repents and asks forgiveness," that too is a sign of having a faith founded on the rock of Christ.
The pope ended his homily praying that as Christians prepare for Christmas God would help them build their faith more solidly on Jesus. "We are all sinners, we are weak, but if we put our hope in him we can move forward. This is the joy of a Christian: knowing that in him there is hope, forgiveness, peace and joy."
Faith in Jesus, he said, is the source of hope, not "things that are here today and gone tomorrow."