In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis called on pastors and Christians to not be afraid of preaching the Gospel.
"It is sad to see a shepherd open the doors of the church and just stand there waiting. It’s sad that the Christian does not feel within, in his heart, the need, the need to go to tell others that the Lord is good.”
The Pope emphasized the need to announce the Good News and that both Christians and pastors must not be afraid to get their hands dirty.
"The true shepherd, the true Christian has this zeal within: no one should be lost. And this is why they are not afraid to get their hands dirty. They are not afraid. They go where they need to go. They risk their life, they risk their reputation, they risk losing their comforts, their status, even lose their ecclesiastical career as well, but they are Good Shepherds.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily by saying that "halfway Christians” do not know joy, much like the Pharisees.
He encouraged Christians to not be afraid of being criticized for reaching out to those who are far from the God.
EXCERPTS FROM THE POPE'S HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)
"It is sad to see a shepherd open the doors of the church and just stand there waiting. It’s sad that the Christian does not feel within, in his heart, the need, the need to go to tell others that the Lord is good. How much perversion there is in the hearts of those who think they are righteous, like these scribes, these Pharisees. Well, they do not want to dirty their hands with sinners. Let us recall what they thought, 'Well, if he were a prophet, he would know that she is a sinner'. The contempt. They used people, then they despised them".
"The true shepherd, the true Christian has this zeal within: no one should be lost. And this is why they are not afraid to get his hands dirty. He is not afraid. He goes where he needs to go. He risks his life, he risks his reputation, he risks losing his comforts, his status, even lose his ecclesiastical career as well, but he is the Good Shepherd. Even Christians have to be this way. It is so easy to condemn others, as they [the Pharisees] did - the tax collectors and sinners - it's so easy, but it is not Christian! It is not [the attitude of] the children of God. The Son of God goes to the very limit, the giver of life, as Jesus gave his for others. He cannot be content, keeping to himself: his comfort, his reputation, his peace of mind. Remember this: no half-way shepherds, never! No half-way Christians, never! That’s what Jesus did".
"These scribes, the Pharisees did not know, did not know what it means to set the sheep on his shoulders, with tenderness, and bring it back to its place. These people do not know what joy is. The half-way Christian and shepherd knows perhaps know some fun, calm, a certain peace, but joy, the joy there is in heaven, the joy that comes from God, the joy that comes from the heart of a father who saves! 'I have heard the cries of the Israelites and I took to the field’! This is so beautiful; do not be afraid that they badmouth us because we go to visit our brothers and sisters who are distant from the Lord. Let us ask this grace for each of us and for our Mother, the Holy Church. "