Proclamation



Dear Brothers and Sisters! 

https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/proclamation/14.04.18.jpg

It is a joy for me to celebrate Mass with you in this Basilica. I greet the Archpriest, Cardinal James Harvey, and I thank him for the words that he has addressed to me. Along with him, I greet and thank the various institutions that form part of this Basilica, and all of you. We are at the tomb of Saint Paul, a great yet humble Apostle of the Lord, who proclaimed him by word, bore witness to him by martyrdom and worshipped him with all his heart. These are the three key ideas on which I would like to reflect in the light of the word of God that we have heard: proclamation, witness, worship.

1. In the First Reading, what strikes us is the strength of Peter and the other Apostles. In response to the order to be silent, no longer to teach in the name of Jesus, no longer to proclaim his message, they respond clearly: “We must obey God, rather than men”. And they remain undeterred even when flogged, ill-treated and imprisoned. Peter and the Apostles proclaim courageously, fearlessly, what they have received: the Gospel of Jesus. And we? Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live? Do we know how to speak of Christ, of what he represents for us, in our families, among the people who form part of our daily lives? Faith is born from listening, and is strengthened by proclamation.

2. But let us take a further step: the proclamation made by Peter and the Apostles does not merely consist of words: fidelity to Christ affects their whole lives, which are changed, given a new direction, and it is through their lives that they bear witness to the faith and to the proclamation of Christ. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times to feed his flock, to feed it with his love, and he prophesies to him: “When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go” (Jn 21:18). These words are addressed first and foremost to those of us who are pastors: we cannot feed God’s flock unless we let ourselves be carried by God’s will even where we would rather not go, unless we are prepared to bear witness to Christ with the gift of ourselves, unreservedly, not in a calculating way, sometimes even at the cost of our lives. But this also applies to everyone: we all have to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel. We should all ask ourselves: How do I bear witness to Christ through my faith? Do I have the courage of Peter and the other Apostles, to think, to choose and to live as a Christian, obedient to God? To be sure, the testimony of faith comes in very many forms, just as in a great fresco, there is a variety of colours and shades; yet they are all important, even those which do not stand out. In God’s great plan, every detail is important, even yours, even my humble little witness, even the hidden witness of those who live their faith with simplicity in everyday family relationships, work relationships, friendships. There are the saints of every day, the “hidden” saints, a sort of “middle class of holiness”, as a French author said, that “middle class of holiness” to which we can all belong. But in different parts of the world, there are also those who suffer, like Peter and the Apostles, on account of the Gospel; there are those who give their lives in order to remain faithful to Christ by means of a witness marked by the shedding of their blood. Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life. Those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips, and so give glory to God! I am thinking now of some advice that Saint Francis of Assisi gave his brothers: preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words. Preaching with your life, with your witness. Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility.

3. But all this is possible only if we recognize Jesus Christ, because it is he who has called us, he who has invited us to travel his path, he who has chosen us. Proclamation and witness are only possible if we are close to him, just as Peter, John and the other disciples in today’s Gospel passage were gathered around the Risen Jesus; there is a daily closeness to him: they know very well who he is, they know him. The Evangelist stresses the fact that “no one dared ask him: ‘Who are you?’ – they knew it was the Lord” (Jn 21:12). And this is important for us: living an intense relationship with Jesus, an intimacy of dialogue and of life, in such a way as to recognize him as “the Lord”. Worshipping him! The passage that we heard from the Book of Revelation speaks to us of worship: the myriads of angels, all creatures, the living beings, the elders, prostrate themselves before the Throne of God and of the Lamb that was slain, namely Christ, to whom be praise, honour and glory (cf. Rev 5:11-14). I would like all of us to ask ourselves this question: You, I, do we worship the Lord? Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him, or do we also turn to him to worship him? What does it mean, then, to worship God? It means learning to be with him, it means that we stop trying to dialogue with him, and it means sensing that his presence is the most true, the most good, the most important thing of all. All of us, in our own lives, consciously and perhaps sometimes unconsciously, have a very clear order of priority concerning the things we consider important. Worshipping the Lord means giving him the place that he must have; worshipping the Lord means stating, believing – not only by our words – that he alone truly guides our lives; worshipping the Lord means that we are convinced before him that he is the only God, the God of our lives, the God of our history.

This has a consequence in our lives: we have to empty ourselves of the many small or great idols that we have and in which we take refuge, on which we often seek to base our security. They are idols that we sometimes keep well hidden; they can be ambition, careerism, a taste for success, placing ourselves at the centre, the tendency to dominate others, the claim to be the sole masters of our lives, some sins to which we are bound, and many others. This evening I would like a question to resound in the heart of each one of you, and I would like you to answer it honestly: Have I considered which idol lies hidden in my life that prevents me from worshipping the Lord? Worshipping is stripping ourselves of our idols, even the most hidden ones, and choosing the Lord as the centre, as the highway of our lives.

Dear brothers and sisters, each day the Lord calls us to follow him with courage and fidelity; he has made us the great gift of choosing us as his disciples; he invites us to proclaim him with joy as the Risen one, but he asks us to do so by word and by the witness of our lives, in daily life. The Lord is the only God of our lives, and he invites us to strip ourselves of our many idols and to worship him alone. To proclaim, to witness, to adore. May the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Paul help us on this journey and intercede for us. Amen..



Pope Francis          10.04.16    Regina Cali, St Peter's Square  3rd Sunday of Easter       John: 21: 1-19

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today’s Gospel recounts the third apparition of the Risen Jesus to the disciples, with the account of the miraculous catch on the shore of the lake of Galilee (cf. Jn 21:1-19). The narrative is situated in the context of the everyday life of the disciples, who returned to their land and to their work as fishermen, after the shocking days of the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord. It was difficult for them to understand what had taken place. Even though everything seemed finished, Jesus “seeks” his disciples once more. It is He who goes to seek them. This time he meets them at the lake, where they have spent the night in their boats catching nothing. The nets appear empty, in a certain sense, like the tally of their experience with Jesus: they met him, they left everything to follow him, full of hope... and now? Yes, they saw he was risen, but then they were thought: “He went away and left us.... It was like a dream...”.

So it is that at sunrise Jesus presents himself on the lakeshore; however they do not recognize him (cf. v. 4). The Lord says to those tired and disappointed fishermen: “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some” (v. 6). The disciples trust in Jesus and the result is an incredibly abundant catch. At this point John turns to Peter and says: “It is the Lord!” (v. 7). Right away Peter throws himself into the water and swims to the shore, toward Jesus. In that exclamation: “It is the Lord!”, there is all the enthusiasm of the Paschal faith, full of joy and wonder, which sharply contrasts with the disappearance, the dejection, the sense of powerlessness that had accumulated in the disciples’ hearts. The presence of the Risen Jesus transforms everything: darkness has become light, futile work has again become fruitful and promising, the sense of weariness and abandonment give way to a new impetus and to the certainty that He is with us.

From that time, these same sentiments enliven the Church, the Community of the Risen One. All of us are the community of the Risen One! At first glance it might sometimes seem that the darkness of evil and the toil of daily living have got the upper hand, the Church knows with certainty that the now everlasting light of Easter shines upon those who follow the Lord Jesus. The great message of the Resurrection instils in the hearts of believers profound joy and invincible hope. Christ is truly risen! Today too, the Church continues to make this joyous message resound: joy and hope continue to flow in hearts, in faces, in gestures, in words. We Christians are all called to communicate this message of resurrection to those we meet, especially to those who suffer, to those who are alone, to those who find themselves in precarious conditions, to the sick, to refugees, to the marginalized. Let us make a ray of the light of the Risen Christ, a sign of his powerful mercy, reach everyone.

May he, the Lord, also renew in us the Paschal faith. May he render us ever more aware of our mission at the service of the Gospel and of our brothers and sisters; may he fill us with his Holy Spirit so that, sustained by the intercession of Mary, with all the Church we may proclaim the greatness of his love and the abundance of his mercy.



https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/2018-06/pope-homily-santa-marta-barnabas-evangelization.html

Evangelization has three fundamental dimensions: proclamation, service and gratuitousness.

The readings for the Memorial of St Barnabas (Acts 11:21-26; 12: 1-3 and Matthew 10:7-13) demonstrate that the
Holy Spirit is the “protagonist” of the Gospel proclamation. That proclamation is unlike other types of communication. Due to the action of the Holy Spirit, it has the power to change hearts. There have been pastoral plans that seem to be perfect. They were incapable of changing hearts because they were ends in themselves. They were not instruments of evangelization.

It is not with an entrepreneurial attitude that Jesus sends us…. No, it is with the Holy Spirit. This is courage. The true courage behind evangelization is not human stubbornness. No, it is the Spirit who gives us courage and who carries you forward.

Service is the second dimension of evangelization. In fact, pursuing a career or success in the Church is a sure sign that someone doesn’t know what evangelization is…for the one who commands must be the one who serves.

We can say good things but without service it is not proclamation. It may seem to be, but it is not, because the Spirit not only carries you forward to proclaim the truths of the Lord and the life of the Lord, but He also brings you to the service of the brothers and sisters, even in small things. It’s awful when you find evangelizers who make others serve them and who live to be served. They are like the princes of evangelization – how awful.

Gratuitousness is the third aspect of evangelization because no one can be redeemed by his or her own merit. The Lord reminds us, “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give” (Matthew 10:8).

All of us have been saved gratuitously by Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must give gratuitously. Those who carry out the pastoral work of evangelization must learn this. Their life must be gratuitous, given in service, proclamation, borne by the Spirit. Their personal poverty forces them to open themselves up to the Spirit.


Pope Francis Regina Coeli 22.04.19


Today and throughout this week, the Easter joy of the Resurrection of Jesus, the wonderful event we commemorated yesterday, will continue.

During the Easter Vigil, the words spoken by the Angels at the empty tomb of Christ resounded. To the women who had gone to the tomb at dawn on the first day after the Sabbath, they said: "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, He is risen". The Resurrection of Christ is the most shocking event in human history, attesting to the victory of God's Love over sin and death and giving our hope of life a rock-sold foundation. What was humanly unthinkable happened: "Jesus of Nazareth…God raised Him up, freeing Him from the pains of death".

On this Easter Monday (in Italian "Monday of the Angel"), the liturgy, with the Gospel of Matthew, takes us back to the empty tomb of Jesus. The women, full of awe and joy, are leaving in a hurry to go and bring the news to the disciples; and at that moment Jesus presents Himself before them. They "came up to Him and, falling down before Him, clasped His feet". Jesus drives fear out of their hearts and encourages them even more to announce to their brothers and sisters what has happened. All the Gospels emphasize the role of women, Mary of Magdala and the others, as the first witnesses of the resurrection. The men were frightened, they were closed in the Upper Room. Peter and John, advised by Mary Magdalene, only went out briefly and saw that the tomb was open and empty. But it was the women who were the first to meet the Risen One and to bring the message that He was alive.

Today, dear brothers and sisters, the words of Jesus addressed to the women resound for us too: "Do not be afraid; go and
proclaim...". After the liturgies of the Easter Triduum, which allowed us to relive the mystery of our Lord's death and resurrection, now with the eyes of faith, we contemplate Him risen and alive. We too are called to meet Him personally and to become His heralds and witnesses.

With the ancient Easter Sequence, we repeat during these days: "Christ, my hope, is risen!”. In Him we too have risen, passing from death to life, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of love. Let us therefore allow ourselves to be touched by the consoling message of Easter and be enveloped by its glorious light, which dispels the darkness of fear and sadness. The risen Jesus walks beside us. He manifests Himself to those who call on Him and who love Him. First of all in prayer, but also in simple joys lived with faith and gratitude. We can also feel His presence when we share moments of cordiality, welcome, and friendship, or when we contemplate nature. May this feast day, on which it is traditional to enjoy some leisure and free time, help us to experience the presence of Jesus.

Let us ask the Virgin Mary to help us draw with full hands the gifts of peace and serenity of the Risen One, and to share them with our brothers and sisters, especially with those who most need comfort and hope.



Pope Francis    02.02.20  Angelus, St Peter's Square   Feast of the Presentation of the Lord - Year A    Luke 2: 22-40  

Pope Francis - Presentation of the Lord 02.02.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord: when the new-born Jesus was presented to the temple by the Virgin Mary and St Joseph. On this day there is also the Day of Consecrated Life, which recalls the great treasure in the Church of those who follow the Lord closely by professing evangelical counsel. 

The Gospel (cf. Luke 2:22-40) recounts that, forty days after birth, Jesus' parents brought the Child to Jerusalem to consecrate him to God, as prescribed by Jewish law. And while describing the ritual foreseen by tradition, this episode brings to our attention some of the examples of the characters. They are caught when they experience the encounter with the Lord in the place where He makes Himself present and close to man. These characters are Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna, who represent models of welcoming and of giving their lives to God. They were not equal these four, they were all different, but they all sought God and let themselves be guided by the Lord.

The evangelist Luke describes them in a two-fold attitude: the attitude of movement and the attitude of amazement.

The first attitude is movement. Mary and Joseph are heading for Jerusalem; for his part, Simeon, moved by the Spirit, goes to the temple, while Anna serves God day and night non-stop. In this way, the four protagonists of the Gospel passage show us that Christian life requires dynamism and requires a willingness to walk, letting ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit. Immobilism does not suit the Christian witness and the mission of the Church. The world needs Christians who let themselves be moved, who do not tire of walking the streets of life, to bring to everyone the comforting word of Jesus. Every baptized person has received the vocation to proclaim - the vocation to proclaim the evangelizing mission: to announce Jesus, this is the mission! The parishes and the various ecclesial communities are called to encourage the commitment of young people, of families and the elderly, so that everyone can have a Christian experience, living the life and mission of the Church as protagonists. 

The second attitude with which St. Luke presents the four characters of the Gospel is amazement. First we have movement then we have amazement. Mary and Joseph "were amazed at the things that were said about him [of Jesus]" (v. 33). Amazement is an explicit reaction also of the old Simeon, who in the Child Jesus sees with his eyes the salvation brought by God on behalf of His people: this is the salvation that he has been waiting for, for years. And the same goes for Anna, who "also began to praise God" (v. 38) and to go and point out Jesus to the people. This is the holy amazement, the amazement that realizes there is something good before her. Something holy which is to be brought to everyone, so that they may all see Jesus. These figures of believers are enveloped in amazement, because they have allowed themselves to be captured and involved by the events that took place before their eyes. The ability to marvel at the things around us promotes religious experience and makes the encounter with the Lord fruitful. On the contrary, the inability to be amazed makes us indifferent and widens the distance between the path of faith and everyday life. Brothers and sisters, be in movement always and available to be amazed!

May the Virgin Mary help us to contemplate the gift of God for us every day in Jesus, and to let ourselves be involved by Him in the movement of the gift, with joyful amazement, so that our whole life will become a praise to God in the service of our brothers and sisters.





Pope Francis   18.04.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae) Easter Saturday     Acts 4: 13-21,     Mark 16: 9-15

Pope Francis talks about courage as a Christian 18.04.20

Yesterday I received a letter from a sister, who works as a sign language translator for the deaf, and she told me about the difficult work of health workers, nurses, and doctors with disabled patients who have caught Covid-19. We pray for them who are always at the service of these people with various disabilities, who don't have the same abilities that we have.

The leaders, the elders, the scribes, seeing these men and the frankness with which they spoke, and knowing that they were people without education, perhaps they could not write, were amazed. They did not understand: "But it is something that we cannot understand, how are these people so courageous, have this boldness" (cf. Acts 4:13). This word is a very important word that becomes the style of Christian preachers, especially in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles: frankness, boldness, courage. It means all of that. It comes from the Greek root that says all of this, and we too use this word so many times, just the Greek word, to indicate this: parrhesìa, frankness, courage. And they saw this frankness, this courage in them and they did not understand.

Boldness. The courage and frankness with which the first apostles preached ... For example, the Acts of the Apostles is full of it: it says that Paul and Barnabas tried to explain to the Hebrews frankly the mystery of Jesus and preached the Gospel boldly (cf. Acts 13:46).

But there is a verse that I like so much in the Letter to the Hebrews, when the author of the Letter to the Hebrews realizes that there is something in the community that is beginning to decrease, that's beginning to be lost, that there was a certain warmth, that these Christians are becoming lukewarm. And he says this – I do not remember the quote well ... He says this: "Remember the first days, you endured a great and difficult battle: do not throw away your confidence now" (cf. Heb 10:32-35). "Take it back," resume your boldness, have Christian courage to move forward. You cannot be a Christian without this boldness: if you do not have it, you are not a good Christian. If you don't have courage, if you slip and slide on ideologies or case explanations to explain your position, you lack that confidence, you lack that Christian style, the freedom to speak, to say everything. Courage.

And then, we see that the leaders, the elderly and the scribes are victims, they are victims of this frankness, because it puts them in the corner: they do not know what to do. Realizing "that they were simple and uneducated people, they were astonished and recognized them as those who had been with Jesus. Seeing the man who had been healed standing next to them, they did not know what to say in reply" (Acts 4:13-14). Instead of accepting the truth as seen, they had such a closed heart that they sought the path of diplomacy, the way to compromise: "Let's scare them a little, let's tell them they will be punished and let's see if they are so silent" (cf. Acts 4:16-17). Really, they're cornered by the boldness: they didn't know how to get out of it. But they didn't think to say, "But could this be true?" Because their hearts were already closed, they were hard: their hearts were corrupt. This is one of the tragedies: the strength of the Holy Spirit that manifests itself in this boldness of preaching, cannot enter corrupt hearts. For this reason, let us be careful: sinners yes, but never the corrupt. And never arrive at this corruption that has so many ways of manifesting itself ...

But, they were in the corner and didn't know what to say. And in the end, they found a compromise: "Let us threaten them a little, scare them a little", and invite them and call them back and order them, invite them not to speak at any time nor to teach in the name of Jesus. "Let us make peace: you go in peace, but do not speak in the name of Jesus, do not teach" (cf. Acts 4:18). Peter we know : he was not born courageous. He was a coward, he renounced Jesus. But what happened now? They answer: "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges; we cannot remain silent about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:19-20). But this courage, where does it come from, from this coward who has renounced the Lord? What happened in this man's heart? The gift of the Holy Spirit: boldness, courage, parrhesia is a gift, a grace given by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Just after receiving the Holy Spirit they went to preach: a little courageous, a new thing for them. It's consistency, the sign of a Christian, of the true Christian: he is courageous, he tells the whole truth because he is consistent.

And the Lord announces this consistency in sending them out; in the synthesis that Mark makes in the Gospel: a synthesis of the resurrection "He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen him risen" (Mark 16:14) . But with the strength of the Holy Spirit - it is Jesus' greeting: "Receive the Holy Spirit" - and he said to them: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), go with courage, go with boldness, do not be afraid. Do not, as I repeat the verse of the Letter to the Jews, "do not throw away your confidence, do not throw away this gift of the Holy Spirit" (cf. Heb 10:35). The mission comes from here, from this gift that makes us courageous, bold in the proclamation of the word.

May the Lord always help us to be like this: courageous. That's not reckless: no, no. Courageous. Christian courage is always prudent, but it is courageous.




Pope Francis  25.04.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)    Feast of St Mark    1 Peter 5: 5-14,    Mark 16: 15-20

Pope Francis Proclaim the Gospel as a witness in service 25.04.20

Let us pray together today for the people who perform funeral services. It's so painful, so sad what they do, and they feel the pain of this pandemic so closely. Let us pray for them.

Today the Church celebrates St. Mark, one of the four evangelists, he was very close to the Apostle Peter. The Gospel of Mark was the first to be written. It's simple, a simple style, very close. If you have some time today, take it in your hand and read it. It is not long, but it is pleasing to read the simplicity with which Mark recounts the life of the Lord.

And in the Gospel - which is the end of the Gospel of Mark, that we have just read - there is the sending forth by the Lord. The Lord has revealed himself as saviour, as the only Son of God; he has been revealed to all of Israel and the people, especially in more detail to the apostles, to the disciples. This is the Lord's taking leave: the Lord leaves, departs, and "was taken up into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God." But before he left, when he appeared to the Eleven, he said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature." This is the missionary nature of faith. 

Faith is either missionary or it is not faith. Faith is not just for me, for me to grow up with faith: this is a gnostic heresy. Faith always leads you out of yourself. Go out. The transmission of faith; faith must be transmitted, it must be offered, especially through witness: "Go, let people see how you live."

Someone told me, a European priest, of a European city: "There is so much disbelief, so much agnosticism in our cities, because Christians have no faith. If they did, they would definitely give it to people." Missionaryness is lacking. Because their roots lack conviction: "Yes, I am a Christian, I am Catholic, but ...". As if it's a social attitude. In the identity card, you call yourself that, like this, and "I'm a Christian." It's a fact on the identity card. This is not faith. This is a cultural thing. Faith necessarily takes you out, leads you to give it, because essentially faith must be transmitted . It's not quiet. "Oh, do you mean, father, that we all have to be missionaries and go to distant countries?" No, this is a part of the missionary dimension. This means that if you have faith you necessarily need to go out of yourself, you need to go out of yourself, and show faith socially. Social faith is for everyone: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature." And that's not to proselytize, as if I were recruiting for a football team or a charity. No, faith is "not proselytizing." It is to show the revelation, so that the Holy Spirit can act in people with witness, and as a witness through service. Service is a way of life: if I say that I am a Christian and I live like a pagan, it does not work! That doesn't convince anyone. If I say that I am a Christian and I live as a Christian, that attracts. That's witness.

Once, in Poland, a university student asked me: "But in the university I have many fellow students who are atheists. What do I have to tell them to convince them?" – "Nothing, nothing! The last thing you have to do is say something. Start to live and they will see your witness, and they will ask you, 'But why do you live like this?'" Faith must be transmitted, but not by convincing, but by offering a treasure. "It's there, you see it?" And this is also the humility that St. Peter spoke of in the First Reading: "Clothe yourself with humility in your dealings with one another, because God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." How many times in the Church, in history, have movements, groups of men or women who wanted to convince others to faith, to convert and were real "proselytes." And how did they end up? In corruption.

This passage of the Gospel is so tender. But where's the certainty? How can I be sure that by going out of myself I will be fruitful in the transmission of faith? "Proclaim the gospel to every creature," you will do wonders. And the Lord will be with us until the end of the world. He accompanies us. In the transmission of faith, the Lord is always with us. In the transmission of ideology there will be teachers, but when I have an attitude of faith that must be transmitted, there is the Lord there who accompanies me. I am never alone in the transmission of faith . It is the Lord with me who transmits the faith. He promised it: "I will be with you every day until the end of the world."

Let us pray to the Lord to help us live our faith like this: faith with open doors, a transparent faith, not "proselytizing", but one that shows: "Look I am like this." And with this healthy curiosity, you help people get this message that will save them.