Proclaim the Gospel


Pope Francis       07.07.13   Angelus, St Peter's Square      14th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year C         Luke 10: 1-12, 17-20

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Good morning!

First of all I would like to share with you the joy of having met, yesterday and today, a special pilgrimage for the
Year of Faith of seminarians and novices. I ask you to pray for them, that love of Christ may always grow in their lives and that they may become true missionaries of the Kingdom of God.

The Gospel this Sunday (Lk 10:1-12, 17-20) speaks to us about this: the fact that Jesus is not a lone missionary, he does not want to fulfil his
mission alone, but involves his disciples. And today we see that in addition to the twelve Apostles he calls another 72, and sends them to the villages, two by two, to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. This is very beautiful! Jesus does not want to act alone, he came to bring the love of God into the world and he wants to spread it in the style of communion, in the style of brotherhood. That is why he immediately forms a community of disciples, which is a missionary community. He trains them straight away for the mission, to go forth.

But pay attention: their purpose is not to socialize, to spend time together, no, their purpose is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and this is urgent! And it is still urgent today! There is no time to be lost in gossip, there is no need to wait for everyone's consensus, what is necessary is to go out and proclaim. To all people you bring the peace of Christ, and if they do not welcome it, you go ahead just the same. To the sick you bring healing, because God wants to heal man of every evil. How many missionaries do this, they sow life, health, comfort to the outskirts of the world. How beautiful it is! Do not live for yourselves, do not live for yourselves, but live to go forth and do good! There are many young people today in the Square: think of this, ask yourselves this: is Jesus calling me to go forth, to come out of myself to do good? To you, young people, to you boys and girls I ask: you, are you brave enough for this, do you have the courage to hear the voice of Jesus? It is beautiful to be missionaries!... Ah, you are good! I like this!

These 72 disciples, whom Jesus sent out ahead of him, who were they? Who do they represent? If the Twelve were the Apostles, and also thus represent the Bishops, their successors, these 72 could represent the other ordained ministries, priests and deacons; but more broadly we can think of the other ministries in the Church, of catechists, of the lay faithful who engage in parish missions, of those who work with the sick, with different kinds of disadvantaged and marginalized people; but always as missionaries of the Gospel, with the urgency of the Kingdom that is close at hand. Everyone must be a missionary, everyone can hear that call of Jesus and go forth and proclaim the Kingdom!

The Gospel says that those 72 came back from their mission full of joy, because they had experienced the power of Christ's Name over evil. Jesus says it: to these disciples He gives the power to defeat the evil one. But he adds: “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Lk 10:20). We should not boast as if we were the protagonists: there is only one protagonist, it is the Lord! The Lord's grace is the protagonist! He is the one hero! And our joy is just this: to be his disciples, his friends. May Our Lady help us to be good agents of the Gospel.

Dear friends, be glad! Do not be afraid of being joyful! Don't be afraid of joy! That joy which the Lord gives us when we allow him to enter our life. Let us allow him to enter our lives and invite us to go out to the margins of life and proclaim the Gospel. Don't be afraid of joy. Have joy and courage!


 

Pope Francis    28.07.13    28th World Youth Day  Waterfront Mass Rio de Janeiro    Romans 10:9     1 Corinthians 9:16,19      Jeremiah 1:7,8,10      Matthew 28:20      Psalm 95:1

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/evangelization/28.07.13.jpg
Dear Young Friends,

“Go and make disciples of all nations”. With these words, Jesus is speaking to each one of us, saying: “It was wonderful to take part in World Youth Day, to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go, now you must pass on this experience to others.” Jesus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission! Today, in the light of the word of God that we have heard, what is the Lord saying to us? What is the Lord saying to us? Three simple ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve.

1. Go. During these days here in Rio, you have been able to enjoy the wonderful experience of meeting Jesus, meeting him together with others, and you have sensed the joy of faith. But the experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community. That would be like withholding oxygen from a flame that was burning strongly. Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love and confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of life and history (cf. Rom 10:9).

Careful, though! Jesus did not say: “go, if you would like to, if you have the time”, but he said: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Sharing the experience of faith, bearing witness to the faith, proclaiming the Gospel: this is a command that the Lord entrusts to the whole Church, and that includes you; but it is a command that is born not from a desire for domination, from the desire for power, but from the force of love, from the fact that Jesus first came into our midst and did not give us just a part of himself, but he gave us the whole of himself, he gave his life in order to save us and to show us the love and mercy of God. Jesus does not treat us as slaves, but as people who are free , as friends, as brothers and sisters; and he not only sends us, he accompanies us, he is always beside us in our mission of love.

Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us to everyone. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some. It is not only for those who seem closer to us, more receptive, more welcoming. It is for everyone. Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Lord seeks all, he wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love.

In particular, I would like Christ’s command: “Go” to resonate in you young people from the Church in Latin America, engaged in the continental mission promoted by the Bishops. Brazil, Latin America, the whole world needs Christ! Saint Paul says: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). This continent has received the proclamation of the Gospel which has marked its history and borne much fruit. Now this proclamation is entrusted also to you, that it may resound with fresh power. The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you. A great Apostle of Brazil, Blessed José de Anchieta, set off on the mission when he was only nineteen years old. Do you know what the best tool is for evangelizing the young? Another young person. This is the path for all of you to follow!

2. Do not be afraid. Some people might think: “I have no particular preparation, how can I go and proclaim the Gospel?” My dear friend, your fear is not so very different from that of Jeremiah, as we have just heard in the reading, when he was called by God to be a prophet. “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth”. God says the same thing to you as he said to Jeremiah: “Be not afraid ... for I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:7,8). He is with us!

“Do not be afraid!” When we go to proclaim Christ, it is he himself who goes before us and guides us. When he sent his disciples on mission, he promised: “I am with you always” (Mt 28:20). And this is also true for us! Jesus never leaves anyone alone! He always accompanies us .

And then, Jesus did not say: “One of you go”, but “All of you go”: we are sent together. Dear young friends, be aware of the companionship of the whole Church and also the communion of the saints on this mission. When we face challenges together, then we are strong, we discover resources we did not know we had. Jesus did not call the Apostles to live in isolation, he called them to form a group, a community. I would like to address you, dear priests concelebrating with me at this Eucharist: you have come to accompany your young people, and this is wonderful, to share this experience of faith with them! Certainly he has rejuvenated all of you. The young make everyone feel young. But this experience is only a stage on the journey. Please, continue to accompany them with generosity and joy, help them to become actively engaged in the Church; never let them feel alone! And here I wish to thank from the heart the youth ministry teams from the movements and new communities that are accompanying the young people in their experience of being Church, in such a creative and bold way. Go forth and don’t be afraid!

3. The final word: serve. The opening words of the psalm that we proclaimed are: “Sing to the Lord a new song” (Psalm 95:1). What is this new song? It does not consist of words, it is not a melody, it is the song of your life, it is allowing our life to be identified with that of Jesus, it is sharing his sentiments, his thoughts, his actions. And the life of Jesus is a life for others. The life of Jesus is a life for others. It is a life of service.

In our Second Reading today, Saint Paul says: “I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more” (1 Cor 9:19). In order to proclaim Jesus, Paul made himself “a slave to all”. Evangelizing means bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did.

Three ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve. Go, do not be afraid, and serve. If you follow these three ideas, you will experience that the one who evangelizes is evangelized, the one who transmits the joy of faith receives more joy. Dear young friends, as you return to your homes, do not be afraid to be generous with Christ, to bear witness to his Gospel. In the first Reading, when God sends the prophet Jeremiah, he gives him the power to “pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (1:10). It is the same for you. Bringing the Gospel is bringing God’s power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance and hatred, so as to build a new world. Dear young friends, Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you! May Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, always accompany you with her tenderness: “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Amen



Pope Francis   28.05.17    Regina Caeli,  St Peter's Square     Matthew 28: 16-20

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today, in Italy and in other countries, we celebrate Jesus’
Ascension into heaven, which took place 40 days after Easter. The Gospel passage (cf. Mt 28:16-20), which concludes the Gospel of Matthew, presents the moment of the Risen One’s final farewell to his disciples. The scene is set in Galilee, the place where Jesus had called them to follow him and to form the first nucleus of his new community. Now those disciples have traversed the “fire” of the Passion and of the Resurrection; at the visit of the Risen Lord they prostrate themselves before him, although some remain doubtful. Jesus gives this frightened community the immense task of evangelizing the world; and he reinforces this responsibility with the command to teach and baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (v. 19).

Jesus’ Ascension into heaven thus constitutes the end of the mission that the Son received from the Father and the beginning of the continuation of this mission on the part of the Church. From this moment, from the moment of the Ascension, in fact, Christ’s presence in the world is mediated by his disciples, by those who believe in him and proclaim him. This mission will last until the end of history and every day will have the assistance of the Risen Lord, who assures: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (v. 20).

His presence brings strength during persecution, comfort in tribulations, support in the difficult situations that the mission and the proclamation of the Gospel will encounter. The Ascension reminds us of Jesus’ assistance and of his Spirit that gives confidence, gives certainty to our Christian witness in the world. He reveals to us the reason for the Church’s existence: the Church exists to
proclaim the Gospel, for this alone! So too, the joy of the Church is proclaiming the Gospel. The Church is all of us baptized people. Today we are called to better understand that God has given us the great dignity and responsibility of proclaiming him to the world, of making him accessible to all mankind. This is our dignity; this is the greatest honour of each one of us, of all the baptized!

On this Feast of the Ascension, as we turn our gaze toward heaven, where Christ has ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father, we strengthen our steps on earth so as to continue our journey — our mission of witnessing to and living the Gospel in every environment — with enthusiasm and courage. However, we are well aware that this does not depend first and foremost on our strengths, on our organizational abilities or human resources. Only with the light and strength of the Holy Spirit can we effectively fulfil our mission of leading others to know and increasingly experience Jesus’ tenderness.

Let us ask the Virgin Mary to help us contemplate the heavenly benefits that the Lord promises us, and to become ever more credible witnesses to his Resurrection, to the true Life.




Pope Francis   02.10.19  General Audience, St Peter's Square   Catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles -  General Audience   Acts 8: 1-40
Pope Francis 02.10.19 General Audience

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

After Stephen's martyrdom, the "race" of the Word of God seems to suffer a setback, for broke out a severe persecution against the church in Jerusalem"(Acts 8:1). As a result, the Apostles remain in Jerusalem, while many Christians go out to other places in Judea and In Samaria. 

In the Book of Acts, persecution appears to be the permanent state of the life of the disciples, in accordance with what Jesus said: "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you"(John 15:20). But persecution, instead of extinguishing the fire of evangelization, feeds it even more. 

We have heard what the deacon Philip has done, beginning to evangelize the cities of Samaria, and there are numerous signs of liberation and healing that accompany the proclamation of the Word. At this point, the Holy Spirit begins a new stage in the Gospel's journey: he pushes Philip to meet a stranger with a heart open to God. Philip rises and leaves passionately onto a deserted and dangerous road. He meets a senior official of the Queen of Ethiopia, an administrator of her treasures. This man, a eunuch, after being in Jerusalem for worship, is returning to his country. He was a Jewish proselyt of Ethiopia. Sitting in his carriage, he was reading the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, in particular the fourth canticle about the servant of the Lord. 

Philip approaches the carriage and asks, "Do you understand what you are reading?" (Acts 8.30). The Ethiopian replies, "And how could I understand, if there is no one to guide me?" (Acts 8.31). That powerful man recognizes that he needs to be guided to understand the Word of God. He was a great banker, he was the minister of the economy, he had all the power of money, but he knew that without explanations he could not understand, he was humble.

And this dialogue between Philip and the Ethiopian also makes us reflect on the fact that it is not enough to read Scripture, it is necessary to understand its meaning, to find the "juice" going beyond the "peal", to draw from the Spirit that enlivens the letters. As Pope Benedict said at the beginning of the Synod on the Word of God, "the exegesis, the true reading of the Sacred Scripture, is not only a literary phenomenon, [...]. It is the movement of my existence"(Meditation,October 6, 2008). To enter into the Word of God is to be willing to go beyond our own limits, to encounter God and conform ourselves to Christ who is the Living Word of the Father.

So who is the protagonist of this reading, the fourth canticle of the servant of the Lord, that the Ethiopian was reading? Philip offers his interlocutor a key to reading: that meek suffering servant, who does not react to evil with evil and who, although considered a failure, sterile and finally taken out from the middle of the question, he liberates the people from iniquity and bears fruit for God, it is precisely that Christ that Philip and the Church all announce! That with Easter has redeemed us all. Finally, the Ethiopian recognizes Christ and asks for Baptism and professes faith in the Lord Jesus. This story is beautiful, but who pushed Philip to go to the desert to meet this man? Who pushed Philip to approach the carriage? It is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of evangelization. "Father, I am going to evangelize" – "Yes, what are you going to do?" – "Ah, I announce the gospel and say who Jesus is, I am going to try and convince people that Jesus is God." Dear one , this is not evangelization, if there is no Holy Spirit there is no evangelization. This can be proselytizing, advertising... But evangelization is to be guided by the Holy Spirit, that he should push you to the proclamation, to the proclamation with your witness, and even with martyrdom, even with the word. 

After having the Ethiopian meet with the Risen One – the Ethiopian meets Jesus who has risen because he understands that prophecy – Philip disappears, the Spirit takes him and sends him to do something else. I said that the protagonist of evangelization is the Holy Spirit and what is the sign that you as a Christian, are an evangelizer? Joy. Even in martyrdom. And Philip, is full of joy, he goes out somewhere else to preach the gospel.

May the Spirit make all of us baptized men and women who
proclaim the Gospel to attract others not to themselves but to Christ, and to know how to make space for God's action, and to know how to make others free and responsible before the Lord.



Pope Francis   27.10.19  Angelus, St Peter's Square   30th Sunday of Ordinary Time  Year C   Sirach 35:12-14,     2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18


Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Pope Francis  27.10.19 Proclaim the Gospel

The Mass celebrated this morning in St Peter's closed the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. The first reading, from the Book of Sirach, reminded us of the starting point of this journey: the prayer of the poor, which will pierce the clouds, because "God hears the prayer of the oppressed" (Sir 35: 16-21). The cry of the poor, along with that of the earth, came to us from the Amazon. After these three weeks, we can't pretend we didn't hear it. The voices of the poor, together with those of many others inside and outside the Synod Assembly – Pastors, young people, scientists – urge us not to remain indifferent. We have often heard the phrase "later is too late": this phrase cannot remain a slogan.

What was the Synod? It was, as the word says, a walk together, comforted by the courage and consolations that come from the Lord. We walked looking into each other's eyes and listening to each other, sincerely, without hiding the difficulties, experiencing the beauty of moving forward together, to serve. The Apostle Paul in today's second Reading encourages us in this respect: in a dramatic moment for him, he knows that "it is about to be poured out like a libation – that is, executed – and that the time has come for him to leave this life" (cf. 2 Tm 4.6), he writes, at that moment: " But the Lord has been close to me and has given me strength so that I may complete the proclamation of the Gospel and all the gentiles might hear it." This is Paul's last wish: not something for himself or for one of his own, but for the Gospel, for it to be announced to all people. This comes first and matters most of all. Each of us will have wondered so many times what good can we do in our lives; Today is the time; to ask ourselves, "What good can I do for the Gospel?"

In the Synod we asked ourselves the same thing, eager to open new paths for the proclamation of the Gospel. First of all we felt the need like the tax collector in today's Gospel to place ourselves before the Lord. To put Him back at the centre, both personally and as the Church. You only announce what you live. And to live according to Jesus, to live for the Gospel you have to come out of yourself. We then felt encouraged to take off, to leave the comfortable shorelines of our safe harbours to enter deep water: not in the swampy waters of ideologies, but in the open sea where the Spirit invites us to cast the nets.

For the journey ahead of us , let us invoke the Virgin Mary, revered and loved as Queen of the Amazon. She has become so not conquering, but by "inculturating herself": with the humble courage of a mother she has become the protector of her little ones, the defender of the oppressed. Always going to the culture of the peoples. There is no standard culture, there is no pure culture, which purifies others; there is the Gospel, pure, that is cultured. To her, who took care of Jesus in the humble house of Nazareth, we entrust her poorest children and our common home.