Pope Francis: Long faces cannot proclaim Jesus

| June 2nd, 2013

Pope Francis prefers that his daily homilies given at morning Mass should not be published in full. This would detract from the familial and informal atmosphere he prefers. His homilies are given spontaneously without a written text in Italian, which is a second language for him. Transcribing them would entail some reworking.

Below is a summary of one homily given at a papal Mass

The Holy Spirit is the “author” of Christian joy and to proclaim the Gospel we need to have joy in our hearts gifted us by the Spirit of God. There is a certain understanding of Christian life that is marked by sadness, but long faces cannot proclaim Jesus. Joy alone and praise of God are the only way to advance the Gospel. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports:

Pope Francis began by commenting on the daily readings. The first reading, from the prophet Zephaniah, contains the exclamation “Rejoice! Cries of joy, the Lord is in your midst. “The second, from the Gospel, tells the story of Elizabeth and her son that “rejoices” in the womb on hearing the words of Mary. The Pope noted, “it all speaks of joy, the joy that is celebration.” Yet, he continues, “we Christians are not so accustomed to speak of joy, of happiness”, “I think often we prefer to complain”. Instead, it is “the Holy Spirit that gives us joy”:

“It’s the Spirit that guides us: He is the author of joy, the Creator of joy. And this joy in the Holy Spirit gives us true Christian freedom. Without joy, we Christians cannot become free, we become slaves to our sorrows. The great Paul VI said that you cannot advance the Gospel with sad, hopeless, discouraged Christians. You cannot. A certain mournful behaviour? No Often Christians behave as if they were going to a funeral procession rather than to praise God, no? And this joy comes from praise, Mary’s praise, this praise that Zephaniah speaks of, Simeon and Anna’s praise: this praise of God! ”

And how do we praise God? We praise Him by coming out of ourselves, we praise Him “freely, like the grace that He gives us is free,” said Pope Francis. This pushes us to an examination of conscience on how to pray to God, said Pope Francis, who then turned to those present with a question:

“You here at Mass, do you give praise to God or do you only petition God and thank God? Do you praise God? ‘. This is something new, new in our new spiritual life. Giving praise to God, coming out of ourselves to give praise, spending a little bit of time giving praise. But ‘this Mass is so long!’ If you do not praise God, you will never know the gratuity of spending time praising God, the Mass is long. But if you go with this attitude of joy, of praise to God, that is beautiful! This is what eternity will be: giving praise to God! And that will not be boring: it will be beautiful! This joy makes us free.”

The model of this praise, and this joy, is once again the Mother of Jesus “The Church calls her the ‘cause of our joy’, ‘Cause Nostrae Letitiae’. Why? Because she brings the greatest joy that is Jesus.”

“We need to pray to Our Lady, so that bringing Jesus may give us the grace of joy, the joy of freedom. … the grace to praise, to praise with a prayer of gratuitous praise, because He is worthy of praise, always.

Vatican Radio