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In the Gospel this weekend, Jesus is filed with passionate zeal for his mission. He talks about his desire to bring 'fire to the earth' and his wish that it 'were blazing already'. This is the same passion and zeal he wants us to have as well. In this extract from Pope Francis' 'Rejoice and Be Glad', the pope develops this theme of missionary boldness and zeal for the whole Church.

'Holiness is also boldness - an impulse to evangelize and to leave a mark in this world. To allow us to do this, Jesus himself comes and tells us once more, serenely yet firmly: “Do not be afraid” (Mk 6:50). “I am with you always, to the end of the world” (Mt 28:20). These words enable us to go forth and serve with the same courage that the Holy Spirit stirred up in the Apostles, impelling them to proclaim Jesus Christ. Boldness, enthusiasm, the freedom to speak out, apostolic fervour, all these are included in the word 'boldness'.

St Pope Paul VI, in referring to obstacles to evangelization, spoke of a lack of fervour that is “all the more serious because it comes from within”. How often we are tempted to keep close to the shore! Yet the Lord calls us to put out into the deep and let down our nets (cf. Lk 5:4). He bids us spend our lives in his service. Clinging to him, we are inspired to put all our charisms at the service of others. May we always feel compelled by his love (2 Cor 5:14) and say with Saint Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16).

Pope Francis, Rejoice and Be Glad, 129-130

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