VATICAN CITY (CNS) — People are courageous in pursuing their careers, personal ambitions and jealousies, but they really should be using that courage to believe in the resurrected Christ, pray to him and spread the Gospel, Pope Francis said.
When the church loses courage, it is enveloped by a “tepid atmosphere,” with “lukewarm Christians without courage. This hurts the church so much,” he said in his daily morning Mass homily May 3.
The pope celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives, for members of the Swiss Guard, including their commander, Col. Daniel Anrig. Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, concelebrated with the pope.
In his homily, the pope said a lack of courage causes the church harm “because tepidness draws you inside, and problems arise among us; we have no horizons, we have no courage, neither the courage to pray toward heaven nor the courage to proclaim the Gospel. We are lukewarm.”
However, in people’s daily lives, “we have the courage to get ourselves wrapped up in our petty things, our jealousies, envy, careerism, in going ahead selfishly,” he said.
Courage is needed to share the faith, which is “faith in the resurrected Jesus, in Jesus who pardoned our sins with his death and has reconciled us with the Father,” he said.
“We have to proclaim it with our life, with our word.”
Sometimes that courage can be shown very simply, he said, recalling how as a boy he attended Good Friday candlelit processions with his grandmother.
When the figure of a crucified and lifeless Christ would pass, “grandmother would make us kneel and tell us ‘Look, he’s dead, but tomorrow he will be risen!'”
With that simple teaching, he said, faith in Christ, who died and was risen, “entered like that” into his life.
However, “there have been many, many people in the history of the church who have wanted to tone down a little this firm certainty and speak of a ‘spiritual’ resurrection.”
“No. Christ is alive,” he said, and is “also alive among us.”
“The church must be courageous” not just in proclaiming the risen Christ and the Gospel, he said, but also “we all have to be courageous in prayer and challenging Jesus.”
Referring to the day’s reading from the Gospel of St. John, the pope said Jesus told his disciples, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
“This is powerful,” he said, that Jesus will do whatever is asked in his name.
Abraham and Moses had the courage to “bargain with the Lord,” but it was the courage to bargain “in favor of others, in favor of the church,” which is needed still today, the pope said.
He asked people to pray with this kind of courage, “this ‘parresia'” or boldness, and ask Jesus to do things like “make the faith grow, make evangelization move forward, make this problem I have find a resolution.”
He asked that God grant everyone “the grace of courage” and “perseverance” in prayer.