At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Criticizes Preachers Seeking ‘Life Insurance Policies’
We are to proclaim the Gospel with humility.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis urged this today, April 25, 2017, the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, his second since the Easter break.
The Pope’s homily focused on the passage from the Gospel of St Mark, which relates the story of the Great Commission. He said “the Gospel is always proclaimed on the journey, never seated, always on the journey.”
The Gospel, Francis stressed, must be proclaimed with humility, overcoming the temptation of pride, and Christians, he encouraged, must go out to proclaim the Good News, remaining on that journey, without stopping.
On Preachers Who Seek Life Insurance Policies
A preacher, Francis also said, must always be on a journey and not seek “an insurance policy,” seeking safety by remaining in one place.
Christians, the Pope said, need “to go out where Jesus is not known, or where Jesus is persecuted, or where Jesus is disfigured, to proclaim the true Gospel.”
“To go out in order to proclaim. And, also, in this going out there is life, the life of the preacher is played out. He is not safe; there are no life insurance policies for preachers. And if a preacher seeks a life insurance policy, he is not a true preacher of the Gospel: He doesn’t go out, he stays in place, safe.
So, first of all: Go, go out. The Gospel, the proclamation of Jesus Christ, goes forth, always; on a journey, always. On a physical journey, on a spiritual journey, on a journey of suffering.
But what is “the style of this proclamation?” the Pope asked.
The Pope observed that Saint Peter, who was St Mark’s teacher, was perfectly clear in his description of this style, namely that the Gospel must be announced in humility, because the Son of God humbled Himself, annihilated Himself.”
This, the Pope said, “is the style of God,”noting there is no other.
Not a Carnival, Nor Party
“The proclamation of the Gospel,” he said, “is not a carnival, a party.”
With humility and overcoming the temptation of worldliness, the Gospel must be preached, the Pope said. Never can it be announced, he cautioned, “with human power, cannot be proclaimed with human power, cannot be proclaimed with the spirit of climbing and advancement.”
“This is not the Gospel,” he said.
The Pope then asked those present why is this humility necessary.
“Precisely because,” he answered, “we carry forward a proclamation of humiliation – of glory, but through humility. And the proclamation of the Gospel undergoes temptation: the temptation of power, the temptation of pride, the temptation of worldliness, of so many kinds of worldliness that they bring [to] preaching or to speaking; because he does not preach a watered down Gospel, without strength, a Gospel without Christ crucified and risen.”
“And for this reason,” the Jesuit Pope recalled, “St Peter says: ‘Be vigilant, be vigilant, be vigilant… Your enemy the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.’ The proclamation of the Gospel, if it is true, undergoes temptation.”
Lord Will Comfort
If a Christian says he is proclaiming the Gospel “but is never tempted,” Francis highlighted that it means that “the devil is not worried,” because “we are preaching something useless.”
For this reason, the Holy Father continued, “in true preaching there is always some temptation, and also some persecution.” However, when we are suffering, Francis explained, the Lord is there “to restore us, to give us strength, because that is what Jesus promised when He sent the Apostles.”
“The Lord will be there to comfort us, to give us the strength to go forward, because He works with us if we are faithful to the proclamation of the Gospel, if we go out of ourselves to preach Christ crucified, and if we do this with a style of humility, of true humility.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying, “May the Lord grant us this grace, as baptized people, all of us, to take the path of evangelization with humility.”