ROME — God is shared with the world through love and authentic relationships, not by forcing the truth on people, Pope Francis said Sunday.
“God is proclaimed through the encounter between persons, with care for their history and their journey. Because the Lord is not an idea, but a living person,” the pope said in his homily at the Mass for the Jubilee of Catechists Sept. 25.
“His message is passed on through simple and authentic testimony, by listening and welcoming with joy which radiates outward.”
Referencing St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy, Pope Francis called the Resurrection the “beating heart which gives life to everything.”
“The Lord Jesus is risen, the Lord Jesus loves you, and he has given his life for you; risen and alive, he is close to you and waits for you every day. We must never forget this.”
“Nothing is more important than the fact that the Lord is risen, the centerpiece of our faith,” he explained.
“We are called always to live out and proclaim the newness of the Lord’s love: ‘Jesus truly loves you, just as you are. Give him space: in spite of the disappointments and wounds in your life, give him the chance to love you. He will not disappoint you,’” Francis said.
“It is by loving that the God-who-is-Love is proclaimed to the world: not by the power of convincing, never by imposing the truth, no less by growing fixated on some religious or moral obligation,” he continued.
In the day’s Gospel, a rich man doesn’t notice the poor Lazarus outside the door to his house, his spiritual blindness and worldliness are like a black hole that “swallows up what is good, which extinguishes love, because it consumes everything in its very self.”
“Today’s callousness causes chasms to be dug that can never be crossed,” Francis said. “And we have fallen, at this time, into the sickness of indifference, selfishness and worldliness.”
The Lord asks us today to meet and help all of the Lazaruses we encounter. We cannot delegate to others, “saying: ‘I will help you tomorrow; I have no time today, I’ll help you tomorrow.’ This is a sin,” he said.
“The time taken to help others is time given to Jesus; it is love that remains: it is our treasure in heaven, which we earn here on earth.”
After Mass, the pope led pilgrims in the Angelus, and expressed his solidarity with the bishops of Mexico in supporting the efforts of the Church in favor of family and life. On Saturday an estimated 215,000 people marched through the streets of Mexico City to oppose President Enrique Pena Nieto’s push to legalize same-sex marriage.
Pope Francis also offered his prayers for the Mexican people in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of two priests whose bodies were found Sept. 19 – the same day a third priest was kidnapped.
The pope also spoke of the beatification of Engelmar Unzeitig, a German priest killed in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, and greeted all of the deaf people present on the “World Day of the Deaf,” encouraging them to do their part to make the world better.