Pope Francis has called on Catholics to spread the Gospel through a life of joy, and not be “imprisoned by formality” or bitter feelings.
The advancement of the Church and promotion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can only “move forward with evangelizers (who are) joyful, full of life,” the pope said on Jan. 28 while delivering his homily at morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Vatican City, Catholic News Service reports.
The Church and the Gospel “will not go forward with boring, bitter evangelizers,” he added.
Pope Francis centered his homily on the Second Book of Samuel, and the joy with which the people met the return of the Arc of the Covenant.
The pope noted that King David danced before the public in Jerusalem “without shame,” showing that he was not separate from his people.
But his wife, Michal, rebuked his emotional outburst, saying he had behaved like a “commoner.”
The pope said Michal represents the disdain some feel for those who can express “the spontaneity of joy with the Lord.”
He continued saying that Michal would remain childless, a punishment which can symbolize how “when a Christian is without joy, that Christian is not fruitful.”
Pope Francis continued: “When joy is missing from our heart, there will be no fruit.”
The pope said that Christians today cannot be “imprisoned by formality” like Michal but must be open to the joy of life imparted by their faith.
That will help them serve as an example to others and thereby spread the Good News.