Francis recommends taking up St. Mark’s Gospel today on his feast, to enjoy “the simplicity with which Mark narrates the life of the Lord.”
Let us pray today for those who offer funeral services. What they do is so painful, so sad. And they experience so deeply the sorrow of this pandemic. Let us pray for them.
This was Pope Francis’ intention for morning Mass of April 25. His homily focused on the missionary mandate given by Christ to the Apostles before He ascended into heaven.
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. …”
The Holy Father noted today’s feast of St. Mark, and reflected on his Gospel: “It is simple, a simple style, very close. If you have time today, pick it up and read it. It’s not long, but it’s a pleasure to read the simplicity with which Mark narrates the life of the Lord.”
The liturgy presents us with the end of this Gospel, which recounts how the Lord sent the Apostles to be missionaries.
This is the missionary character of faith. The faith is missionary or it’s not faith. The faith is not something just for me, so that I grow in faith. That’s a gnostic heresy. The faith always urges you to go out of yourself. To go out. The transmission of faith. The faith must be transmitted, it must be offered, especially with one’s testimony.
The pope recalled a European priest telling him of the lack of belief and agnosticism in the cities, “because the Christians don’t have faith. If they had it, then surely they would share it with the people.”
Faith, the pope continued, is not just something cultural, but rather, “in its essence, it is shared.”
This does not mean, he clarified, that all are called to be missionaries in far-off lands. “No, that is part of being missionary,” he said. “But it means that if you have faith, then by necessity, you must go out of yourselves, you must go out of yourselves, and publicly show your faith.”
The pope added that sharing faith doesn’t mean imposing it. Instead it is, “letting revelation be seen, so that the Holy Spirit can act in people with [your] testimony, and [offering] a witness of service. Service is a way of life: If I say that I am a Christian and live as a pagan, that’s not it. This doesn’t convince anyone. If I say that I am a Christian, and live like one, this attracts. This is testimony.”
“Faith should be shared,” Pope Francis said, “not to convince, but to offer a treasure.”
This, he said, demonstrates the humility that St. Peter spoke of in the First Reading.
Clothe yourselves with humility
in your dealings with one another, for:
God opposes the proud
but bestows favor on the humble.
So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time.
Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.
Pope Francis reflected on the “tenderness” of this Gospel passage, with Jesus’ promise that he would be with us until the end of the world.
“In sharing my faith, I’m never alone. The Lord, who transmits faith, is with me. He promised it.