Vatican City, May 8, 2013 / 09:52 am
If the Church does not have the “apostolic courage” that led Saint Paul to evangelize, she becomes a “stalled Church … without fertility,” Pope Francis said in his May 8 homily.
“Paul teaches us this journey of evangelization ... because he is sure of Jesus Christ and does not need to justify himself, to seek reasons to justify himself,” the Holy Father said during Mass at the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican.
“When the Church loses this apostolic courage, she becomes a stalled Church, a tidy Church, a Church that is nice to look at, but that is without fertility, because she has lost the courage to go to the outskirts, where there are many people who are victims of idolatry, worldliness of weak thought, (of) so many things.”
The Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, and was attended by employees of the Vatican's general services of the governorate, tribunal chancery, and the floreria, which cares for the state's furniture and decorations.
Pope Francis upheld St. Paul at the Greek Areopagus as a model of apostolic courage and evangelization. At that time, St. Paul sought dialogue with the Greek philosophers, saying their altar “to the unknown God” was a sign of the one true God.
“Paul does not say to the Athenians: ‘This is the encyclopedia of truth. Study this and you have the truth, the truth.’ No! The truth does not enter into an encyclopedia,” said Pope Francis.
“The truth is an encounter - it is a meeting with Supreme Truth: Jesus, the great truth. No one owns the truth. We receive the truth when we meet it.”
St. Paul's willingness to dialogue follows in the footsteps of Christ, who “spoke with everyone,” shunning neither sinners and tax collectors nor teachers of the Jewish law, he said.