Pope Francis Santa Marta Mass - The Church will only go forward with joyful evangelizers, full of life. 28.01.20

Pope Francis: The Church will only go forward with joyful evangelizers, full of life. 28.01.20

Pope Francis 28.01.20 Holy Mass Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae) Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas 2 Samuel 6: 12b-15, 17-19

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas - Tuesday of the Third Week of Ordinary Time - Lectionary Cycle II

It happens to us, we feel this joy when we are with the Lord and, perhaps in the parish or in our villages, we celebrate. There was another episode in the history of Israel, when the book of the law was found at the time of Nehemiah and even then the people wept with joy, continuing home to celebrate.

The text of the prophet Samuel goes on to describe David's return to his home where he finds one of his wives, Michal, Saul's daughter. She welcomes him with contempt. Seeing the king dance she was ashamed of him and scolded him by saying: "But were you dancing shamelessly like a common person, like one of the people?"

It is the contempt for genuine religiosity, of the spontaneity of joy of being with the Lord. And David explains to her: "But look, this was a source of joy. Joy in the Lord, because we brought the Ark home!" But she despises him. And the Bible says that this lady – her name was Michal – had no children for this. The Lord punished her. When joy is lacking in a Christian, that Christian is not fruitful; when joy is lacking in our hearts, there is no fruitfulness.

Celebration is not only expressed spiritually, but becomes sharing. David, that day, after the blessing, had distributed "a loaf of bread for each person, a portion of roasted meat and a cake of raisins", so that everyone could celebrate in their own home. The Word of God is not ashamed of celebration. It is true, sometimes the danger of joy is to go further and believe that this is everything. No: this is the festive air. St. Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi" speaks of this aspect and exhorts joy. "The Church will not go forward, the Gospel will not go forward with boring, embittered evangelizers. It will only go forward with joyful evangelizers, full of life. The joy in receiving the Word of God, the joy of being Christians, the joy of moving forward, the ability to celebrate without shame and not be like this lady, Michal, formal Christians, Christian prisoners of formalities."

It was a celebration: the joy of God's people was because God was with them. And David? Danced. He dances before the people, expresses his joy without embarrassed; it is the spiritual joy of meeting the Lord: God has returned to the people, and this gives them so much joy. David does not think that he is the king and that the king must be detached from the people, his majesty, with the distance ... David loves the Lord, he is happy for this event to bring back the ark of the Lord. He expresses this happiness, this joy, dancing and even singing like all the people.

The Ark had been captured and its return is a great joy for the people. The people felt that God was close to them and celebrated. And King David was with them, he put himself at the head of the procession, and made a sacrifice of an ox and a fat ram. He joined the people shouting, singing and dancing "with all his might".

The first Reading today, taken from the second book of Samuel, speaks of David and all the people of Israel celebrating the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem following its capture.