The gospel reading for the day was this text from Mark:
Mark 9.38-40As shared by Vatican Radio, the Pope began his homily by noting that the disciples raise the complaint, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And yet, Francis summarized, Jesus corrects his followers: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.”
John said to him, "Master, we saw someone who is not one of us driving out devils in your name, and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him."
But Jesus said, "You must not stop him; no one who works a miracle in my name could soon afterwards speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us"
Francis described the disciples as "a little intolerant" in that they believe that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” But Francis argued, “This was wrong...Jesus broadens the horizon.” Jesus does so by rooting our doing good in our shared participation in creation: “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation.”
From there Francis worked out a theology by which we can all find common ground--from Christian to atheist--in the shared doing of good. Francis' powerful elaboration on this notion from his sermon:
The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. "But, Father, he is not Catholic! He cannot do good." Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this 'closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.
Instead the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil.
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.