“Faith is missionary or it is not faith. It is offered, above all, through testimony. If you have faith, you have to go out from yourself, and show it in service of others. Convince by living it. Be open, humble, with open doors. When we do this, the Lord is with us". Introducing the celebration, he invites people to pray for undertakers and funeral services. It is so painful - he said - so sad what they do, and they feel the pain of this pandemic so close to heart".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Every Christian is a missionary and "faith is missionary or it is not faith", "is not a thing only for me", "it must be transmitted, it must be offered, above all through testimony". The missionary mandate given by Jesus to the apostles at the time of taking their leave from them (Mk 16, 15-20) was at the center of Pope Francis' homily in the mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
Introducing the celebration, he also invited today to pray for those who suffer from the pandemic. Today the thought has gone to “people who perform funeral services. It is so painful - he said - so sad what they do, and they feel the pain of this pandemic so close at heart".
In the homily, he recalled that "today the Church celebrates Saint Mark, one of the four evangelists, very close to the apostle Peter. Mark's Gospel was the first to be written. It's simple, a simple style, very close."
In the end, Mark tells us that Jesus, "before leaving, when he appeared to the Eleven, he said to them: 'Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature'". "There is the missionary nature of faith. Faith is either missionary or not faith. Faith is not only for me, because I grow with faith: this is a Gnostic heresy. Faith always leads you out of yourself. Go out. The transmission of faith; faith must be transmitted, it must be offered, above all through testimony: 'Go, let people see how you live' ".
And if this missionary aspect is lacking, it is "because it is without conviction at the root: 'Yes, I am a Christian, I am a Catholic, but ..." As if it were a social attitude. " “This is not faith. This is a cultural thing. Faith necessarily takes you out, it leads you to give it, because faith must be transmitted essentially. It is not quiet. "Ah, you mean, father, that we all have to be missionaries and go to distant countries?" No, this is a part of missionary nature. This means that if you have faith, you necessarily have to get out of yourself, you have to get out of yourself, and show faith socially. Social faith is for everyone: 'Go all over the world, proclaim the Gospel to every creature'. And this does not mean proselytizing, as if I were a proselytizing football team or a charity. No, faith is 'not proselytism'. It is to show revelation, so that the Holy Spirit can act in people with testimony, and as a witness with service. Service is a way of life: if I say that I am a Christian and I live like a pagan, it does not work! This does not convince anyone. If I say that I am a Christian and live as a Christian, this attracts. This is testimony”.
"In the transmission of faith - he said again - the Lord is always with us. In the transmission of ideology there will be teachers, but when I have an attitude of faith that must be transmitted, there is the Lord who accompanies me. I am never alone in the transmission of faith. It is the Lord with me who transmits the faith. He promised it: 'I will be with you every day until the end of the world.'
Let us pray to the Lord - he concluded - to help us live our faith like this: a faith with open doors, a transparent faith, not a 'proselytist', but one that makes us see: 'But I am like this'. And with this healthy curiosity, you help people to receive this message that will save them."