Pope Francis has said those in the Church called to administer the sacraments must leave room for the grace of God and not place bureaucratic obstacles in the way.
This was one of the key points stressed by the Pope in his homily on Thursday at the Santa Marta residence.
Pope Francis reflected on the three things necessary for an effective evangelization, saying it requires docility, dialogue with people, and trusting in the grace of God which is more important than bureaucracy.
For the first requirement, he pointed to Philip the apostle as an example of docility.
“He, Philip, obeys, he’s docile and accepts the calling from the Lord. Certainly he left behind many things that he ought to have done, because the Apostles in that period were very busy evangelizing. He leaves everything and sets off. And this makes us see that, without this docility or meekness before the voice of God, nobody can evangelize, nobody can announce Jesus Christ. At the very most he will be announcing himself. It’s God who calls us, it’s God who starts Philip on that road. And Philip follows. He’s docile.”
Turning to the second element, Pope Francis noted how Philip uses dialogue in order to announce the gospel to the Ethiopian minister.
“You can’t evangelize without dialogue. It’s impossible because you must begin from where the person who is to evangelized comes from. And this is so important. ‘But father, we waste so much time because every person has his or her own story, he or she comes with their own ideas…’ And, time is wasted. More time than God wasted when he created the world and He did it well. Dialogue. Spend time with that person because that person is who God wants you to evangelize. It’s more important to give him or her the news about Jesus, but according to who he or she is — not how it should be, but how he or she is right now.”
Continuing his reflection on the story of Philip, Pope Francis points out that the Apostle baptizes the Ethiopian and this places him in the hands of God and of his grace.
“Let’s think about these three moments of evangelization: the docility to evangelize, to do what God is requesting; secondly, a dialogue with the people, but during this dialogue, you begin from where these people come from; and thirdly, trusting in grace. Grace is more important than all the bureaucracy. ‘What prevents this?’ Remember this. So many times we people of the Church are a factory to create obstacles so people can’t arrive at grace. May the Lord help us to understand this.”