During his daily morning Mass today, Pope Francis reflected on the duty of all Christians to pass on the faith. The Mass was attended by the Pontifical Swiss Guard along with their commander, Daniel Rudolf Anrig. Concelebrating with the Pope was Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
Addressing the Swiss Guard, Pope Francis greeted them and thanking them for their service which he called “a beautiful testimony of fidelity to the Church and love for the Pope.” The Swiss Guard will be commemorate the Last Stand of 1527 on May 6th where they will also swear in new recruits. The celebration will remember the countless Swiss Guards who died protecting Pope Clement during the Sacking of Rome.
Contemplating on the readings of the day, the Holy Father emphasized the importance of passing on the gift of faith by all Christians with their lives. The fundamental faith, he said, “is faith in the Risen Jesus, in Jesus who has forgiven our sins through His death and reconciled us with the Father.”
“Transmitting this requires us to be courageous: the courage of transmitting the faith. A sometimes simple courage,” the Pope said.
“I remember – excuse me – a personal story: as a child every Good Friday my grandmother took us to the Procession of Candles and at the end of the procession came the recumbent Christ and my grandmother made us kneel down and told us children, ‘Look he is dead, but tomorrow he will be Risen! ‘. That is how the faith entered: faith in Christ Crucified and Risen. In the history of the Church there have been many, many people who have wanted to blur this strong certainty and speak of a spiritual resurrection. No, Christ is alive.”
The Holy Father went on to say that Christ asks of us the courage to not only proclaim His Resurrection, but also the courage to pray and ask Christ when we are in need.
“We must have the courage to go to Jesus and ask him: ‘But you said this, do it! Make the faith grow, make evangelization move forward, help me to solve this problem,” the Pope said. “Do we have this courage in prayer? Or do we pray a little, when we can, spending a bit’ of time in prayer? But that courage, that parresia (boldness) even in prayer.”
Drawing the examples of Abraham and Moses who had the courage to negotiate on behalf of others, the Holy Father said that such courage was needed in the Church today.
“When the Church loses courage, the Church enters into a lukewarm atmosphere. The lukewarm, lukewarm Christians, without courage,” he said. “That hurts the Church so much, because this tepid atmosphere draws you inside, and problems arise among us; we no longer have the […] courage to pray towards heaven, or the courage to proclaim the Gospel. We are lukewarm.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily saying that despite the fact that we may have courage to be involved in our jealousies, envy, careers in order to selfishly move forward, such courage is not good for the Church.
The Church, he said, “must be courageous! We all have to be courageous in prayer, in challenging Jesus!.”