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In preaching, the Church’s message must always be spoken with frankness and courage, without fear of announcing the truth.
These were the words of Pope Francis in his morning homily at Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father reflected on Peter and John who continued to preach despite being jailed and threatened by the High Priests. That same courage, the Holy Father noted, is what the Church needs to announce the Good News.
“These two simple men- as the Bible says – with no education, had courage. A word that can be translated as ‘courage,’ ‘straightforwardness,’ ‘freedom to speak,’ ‘not being afraid to say things’ … It’s a word that has many meanings, in its original form. Parrésia, that frankness … and their fear gave way to ‘openness,’ to saying things with freedom.”
The Holy Father’s words on speaking out with openness and without fear come on the heels of criticism by the government of Turkey following the Pope’s recognition of the events of 1915 as a genocide during his remarks to the Armenian faithful in St Peter’s Basilica.
The Holy Father said that the courage to proclaim the truth comes from the Holy Spirit. “And this courage of proclamation is what distinguishes us from simple proselytism. We do not advertise Jesus Christ, to have more ‘members’ in our ‘spiritual society’, no? This is not necessary. There’s no need; it’s not Christian. What the Christian does is to announce with courage, and the proclamation of Jesus Christ causes, through the Holy Spirit, that astonishment that keeps us going.”
“The path of Christian courage is a grace given by the Holy Spirit. There are so many paths that we can take that also give us a certain amount of courage. This helps, but it is an instrument of something bigger: the Spirit. If there is no Spirit, we can do many things, much work, but it is not of any use.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to prepare to receive the Holy Spirit during the Easter time leading to Pentecost. He also prayed that they may “ask for the grace to receive the Spirit to give us the true courage to announce Jesus Christ.”