The first reading of today's Memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus recounts Paul's letter to Timothy, in which he recalls the faith of the latter's mother and grandmother.
"I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears, so that I may be filled with joy, as I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and that I am confident lives also in you," St. Paul writes.
The Holy Father said that mothers and grandmothers are the ones who first transmit faith.
"It is one thing to pass on the faith, and another to teach the matters of faith. Faith is a gift: it is not possible to study Faith. We study the things of faith, yes, to understand it better, but with study [alone] one never comes to Faith. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which surpasses all [“academic”] formation," the Pope said.
Reflecting on why it is mainly women who pass on the faith, the Holy Father noted that Jesus was brought into the world by a woman.
"It is the path chosen by Jesus. He wanted to have a mother: the gift of faith comes to us through women, as Jesus came to us through Mary." The Jesuit Pope went on to ask whether women today are aware of their duty to transmit the faith. He also stressed Paul's exhortation to guard the Faith so that it may remain strong.
“We have – all of us – received the gift of faith: we have to keep it, at least in order that it not become watered down, so that it remains strong, with the power of the Holy Spirit who gave it to us," he said.
If this faith becomes diluted, he warned, it becomes a "specialized kind of knowledge" and turns faith from something that is lived to something that is learned.
The Holy Father also said that being timid and ashamed is what dilutes faith and that it instead must be nourished with power, love and prudence.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray for the grace of sincere Faith.
"A Faith that is not negotiable depending on the opportunities that come, a Faith that every day I try to revive or at least ask the Holy Spirit to revive it, and make it bear much fruit," he said.