It is this experience that instils the courage of hope: “Encountering Christ, letting oneself be caught up in and guided by his love, enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint.
Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness.
Let us consider the figure of Saint Peter: the Acts of the Apostles report these words of his, after he had been strictly forbidden from continuing to speak in the name of Jesus: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (4:19-20).
Where does this coward who denied the Lord find his courage? What happened in this man’s heart? The gift of the Holy Spirit”.
The profound reason for the courage of the Christian is Christ. It is the Risen Lord who is our security, who makes us experience profound peace even in the midst of life’s storms.
Many are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone.
Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, Christians should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet.
The joy of the Gospel instils the boldness to set out on new paths: We must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh … particularly attractive for others… the awareness that the security of faith sets us on a journey; it enables witness and dialogue with all no one excluded, because the horizon of faith in Christ is the entire world.”
There it is, the key to today’s gospel reading, the reason for Peter’s confidence, just as Francis shares with the Rimini crowds: “The profound reason for the courage of the Christian is Christ. It is the Risen Lord who is our security, who makes us experience profound peace even in the midst of life’s storms.”
Now there’s a great mantra for my day.