01/15/2020, 10.41
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Pope: be courageous and joyful evangelizers.

The Church "although persecuted, misunderstood and chained, never tires of welcoming every man and woman with a motherly heart to announce to them the love of the Father who made himself visible in Jesus".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Be courageous and joyful evangelizers": With this exhortation, suggested by the example of St. Paul, Pope Francis concluded the cycle of catechesis dedicated to the Acts of the Apostles at today's general audience.

The catechesis was dedicated to reflections on Paul's imprisonment in Rome, where "he is allowed to live on his own in military custody, that is, with a soldier guarding him. He was under house arrest. "

“With Paul's arrival in the heart of the Empire - Francis said to the seven thousand people present in Paul VI Hall - the story of the Acts of the Apostles ends. It does not end with Paul's martyrdom, but with the abundant sowing of Word " and shows that the Church "although persecuted, misunderstood and chained, never tires of welcoming every man and woman with a motherly heart to announce to them the love of the Father who made himself visible in Jesus ".

While imprisoned in Rome, in fact, Paul “can meet the Jewish notables to explain why he was forced to appeal to Caesar and to talk to them about the kingdom of God. He tries to convince them about Jesus, starting from the Scriptures and showing the continuity between the newness of Christ and the "hope of Israel" (Ac 28,20) ".

"Paul recognizes himself as deeply Jewish and sees in the Gospel that he preaches, that is, in the announcement of the dead and risen Christ, the fulfillment of the promises made to the chosen people. After this first informal meeting which finds the Jews well disposed, a more official one follows during which, for a whole day, Paul announces the kingdom of God and tries to open up his interlocutors to faith in Jesus, starting "from the law of Moses and the Prophets "(Ac 28,23). Since not everyone is convinced, he denounces the hardening of the heart of the people of God, the cause of his condemnation (cf. Is 6,9-10), and celebrates with passion the salvation of the nations that show themselves sensitive to God and capable of listening to the Word of the Gospel of life (cf Acts 28,28) ".

"At this point, Luke concludes his work by showing us not the death of Paul but the dynamism of his sermon, of a Word that "is not chained" (2Tm 2,9) but ready to be sown with full hands by the Apostle. Paul does it "with all frankness and without impediment" (Ac 28,31), in a house where he welcomes those who want to receive the announcement of the kingdom of God and know Christ. This house open to all hearts that are in search, is an image of the Church which, although persecuted, misunderstood and chained, never tires of welcoming every man and woman with a motherly heart to announce to them the love of the Father who has made himself visible in Jesus".

“Dear brothers and sisters, at the end of this journey, lived together following the journey of the Gospel in the world, may the Spirit revive in each of us the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers. Make us, like Paul, capable of impregnating our houses with the Gospel and making them cenacles of fraternity, where we can welcome the living Christ, who "comes to meet us in every man and at all times" (cf. II Preface of Advent) " .

The exhortation to be evangelizers was repeated by the Pope in greetings in all the languages ​​used in the audience. Thus, in French, "may the Holy Spirit revive in each of us the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers", in German: "may the journey of the Word of God continue, even in our day. The Lord calls us as witnesses, despite our limitations. " And "let us not be afraid of making mistakes or fear taking new paths, because our poverty  is not an obstacle, but a precious tool, because the grace of God loves to manifest Himself in weakness," he said in greeting to the Arab faithful.

Finally in greeting the Poles, Pope Francis said: “may the Spirit revive in each of you the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers. May he make us capable of impregnating our houses with the Gospel and making them cenacles of fraternity, where we can welcome the living Christ, who "comes to meet us in every man and at all times”.

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