Pope Francis uses Parresia to describe the way a disciple should behave when evanglizing, again it becomes clear this New Evangelization is forming into a drive to reinvigorate the missionary acts of the Church.
This Greek word is often used in the writings of the New Testament to describe the attitude that Jesus’ disciples should have when doing evangelization.
Parresia means: “confidence”, “courage”, “boldness”, “fearless public speaking”, “free speaking”, “bold speaking”, “assurance”.
|1.||Jesus had trained His disciples to be courageous. “Do not fear”, “Take courage”, “I am with you” are encouraging words that Jesus continously said to his disciples. “When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost. They were terrified and cried out. Immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.’” (Mark 6:49-50) “Dear friends, don't be afraid of those who want to kill you… So don't be afraid… And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don't worry about what to say in your defense, for the Holy Spirit will teach you what needs to be said even as you are standing there.” (Luke 12:4,7,11-12) “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)|
|2.||Parresia is courage to evangelize. St Paul can be taken as a model of a courageous and fearless evangelizer. “You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, even though we were surrounded by many who opposed us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:2) While Paul was waiting for his trial in Rome, he was allowed to live in a rented house, where he could meet people. There Paul lived his parresia of evangelization. “For the next two years, Paul lived in his own rented house. He welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the Kingdom of God with all boldness and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.” (Acts 28:30-31)|
|3.||Parresia is God’s gift. “And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:19-20)|
|4.||Parresia puzzles both the persecutors and the crowds“When the members of the Sanhedrin saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) “Some of the people who lived there in Jerusalem said among themselves, ‘Isn't this the man they are trying to kill? But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Can it be that our leaders know that he really is the Messiah?’” (John 7:25-26)|
|5.||Parresia gives glory to Jesus Christ. “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)|
|6.||Parresia is a mark of the whole Christian community. “On their release, Peter and John went back to their brethren and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When the brethren heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”(Acts4: 23-24,29-31)|
|7.||Parresia makes believers confident in approaching God. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1John 5:14) “Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.” (Hebrews 4:16) “In Christ and through faith in Him, we have boldness and confident access to God.” (Ephesians 3:12) “We are God’s house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” (Hebrews 3:6) “Dear friends, if our conscience is clear, we can come to God with bold confidence.” (1John 3:21) “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’.” (Romans 8:15) “And now, dear children, continue to live in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.” (1 John 2:28)|