(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis, during Mass at the Casa Santa Martha on Saturday morning,
invited people to proclaim Jesus with joy and to avoid being "closed in on ourselves".
Speaking to those gathered which included employees of the Vatican Post Office and
the Santa Martha Pediatic Dispensary, the Pope focused on the theme of Evangelization
during his homily.
Reflecting on a reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Father posed a question, why did many people close themselves off to hearing the word of the Lord in Antioch, where the community of Christ’s disciples had gathered.
The reason is, Pope Francis explained, "Simply, because they had closed hearts, they were not open to the newness of the Holy Spirit. They believed that everything had been said, that everything was as they thought it should be and therefore they felt like defenders of the faith and began to speak against the Apostles…”
The Pope went to say that the closed off attitude of this group also can apply to all closed off groups in history. These are the people he continued, "that do not have the freedom to open up to the Lord":
Communities such as these think they are defending the truth, Pope Francis explained, but what they are really doing is spreading gossip and slander, They look inwards and end up destroying each other.
But it is the Lord’s community that goes forward, these communities are open to the Holy Spirit, they spread the Word of God. This, the Holy Father, added, is a criteria for the Church, our own consciences, our parish communities and our religious communities.
The Pope concluded by saying, look at how Jesus sends us to evangelize, he wants us to proclaim his name with joy. And Pope Francis underlined that we should not be "afraid of the joy of the Spirit," and not be "closed in on ourselves." Listen to this report by Lydia O'Kane