VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The best formula for Catholic evangelization is “go and listen,” not “go and proselytize,” Pope Francis said.
“All men and women have a restlessness, whether good or bad, in their hearts. Listen to that restlessness,” the pope said May 4 during his early morning Mass.
The first step in sharing the faith, he said, is always to go out and the second is always to listen to the joys, questions and concerns of the people one meets.
To evangelize one must know what the other person thinks. “But if they have wrong ideas? I want to hear those wrong ideas in order to understand where the restlessness comes from,” he said.
Pope Francis told those attending Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae that the first eight chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, used for the Mass readings in the Easter season, “summarize the whole history of the church,” from the initial preaching of the apostles, to the miracles and persecutions, but also the “ugly sin” of those like Ananias and Sapphira, who used their position in the early Christian community for their own gain.
The day’s first reading was from the eighth chapter and described the story of the Apostle Philip and the Ethiopian. The “angel of the Lord” tells Philip to “get up and go” along the road where he will eventually meet the Ethiopian.
“To evangelize,” the pope said, one must “get up and go. It does not say, ‘Stay seated, relax, make yourself at home.’ No. To be faithful to the Lord, the church always must be on its feet and walking.”
Next, the angel tells Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot” in which he found the Ethiopian reading the Book of Isaiah. Philip draws near and asks the Ethiopian what he thinks the prophet is saying, giving Philip an opportunity to explain who Jesus is.
“But this was possible only because Philip drew near and listened,” the pope said.
He ended his homily praying, “May the Lord gives all of us the grace of living in the church on our feet and going out, listening to the restlessness of the people and always full of joy.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103