Vatican City, Feb 14, 2017 / 11:16 am
Pope Francis said Tuesday that the Word of God isn’t something that can be explained to people as a mere recommendation, or merely a good idea, but that it requires courage, prayer and humility to preach with honesty – and this is the only way it will have an impact.
“The Word of God cannot be given as a proposal – ‘well, if you like it…’ – or like a good philosophical or moral idea – ‘well, you can live this way…’” Pope Francis said Feb. 14.
“No! It’s something else. It needs to be proposed with this frankness, with this force, so that the Word penetrates, as Paul says, ‘to the bone.’”
In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, the Pope took inspiration from the Feb. 14 Feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, two great European missionaries, also referencing Paul and Barnabas in the day’s first reading and the 72 disciples sent by the Lord in the Gospel of Luke.
Francis reflected on three traits which make for good and effective evangelization, without which, he said, we are “incapable…of forming the people of God.”
The first characteristic was that of the courage necessary to speak with “frankness.” First, we must be in love with Jesus, he said, and from this love we will gain the “spiritual courage, courage of heart” to speak God’s Word with honesty.
Without this courage, we may say “something interesting, something moral,” something that will do good, or “a good philanthropy,” he said. “But this is not the Word of God.”
“Only the Word of God proclaimed with this frankness, with this courage, is capable of forming the people of God.”