Saturday, October 31, 2020

Missionary openness!

The young Churches, which in turn have become missionaries, show their maturity in faith. They have understood that a particular Church that is not missionary is not fully Catholic. Indeed, if the whole Church is missionary, the particular Churches must be missionary too: they are formed in the image of the universal Church. It is in them and from them that the Church, which is one and unique, exists (Lumen Gentium, No 23). A Church that shuts herself away, without missionary openness, is an incomplete Church or a sick Church. The example of missionary awakening in the young Churches can remind this truth to the old Churches which, after having developed an admirable effort, often seem to give in to discouragement and doubt regarding their missionary duty.

(Message of His Holiness John Paul II for World Mission Sunday, No 1, June 7, 1981.)


Animated by love

The work of evangelization presupposes in the evangelizer an ever-growing love for those whom he evangelizes. Paul the apostle, a role model for every evangelizer, wrote these words to the Thessalonians, and they are a program to all of us: “With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us.” What is this affection? It is much more than that of a teacher; it is the love of a father; and again, it is the love of a mother. It is this love that the Lord expects from every preacher of the Gospel, from every builder of the Church. A sign of love will be the concern to give the truth and to bring people into unity. Another sign of love will be a devotion to the proclamation of Jesus Christ, without reservation or turning back. Let us add some other signs of this love.

The first is respect for the religious and spiritual situation of those being evangelized. Another sign of this love is concern not to wound the other person, especially if he or she is weak in faith. Yet another sign of love will be the effort not to transmit to Christians doubts and uncertainties born of an erudition poorly assimilated but certainties that are solid because they are anchored in the Word of God.

(Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI, No 79, December 8, 1975.)

Where does Jesus sends us?

There are no borders, no limits: he sends us everywhere. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some. It is not only for those who seem closer to us, more receptive, more welcoming. It is for everyone. Do not be afraid to go and bring Christ into every area of life, to the existential peripheries, even to those who seem farther away and most indifferent. The Lord seeks all; he wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love. He invites us to be fearless missionaries wherever we are and in whatever company we find ourselves: in our neighbourhoods, in school or sports or social life, in volunteer service or in the workplace. Wherever we are, we always have an opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel. That is how the Lord goes out to meet everyone. He loves you, dear young people, for you are the means by which he can spread his light and hope. He is counting on your courage, your boldness and your enthusiasm.

(Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit, Pope Francis, No 177, March 25, 2019.) Missionary support through the Pontifical Mission Societies

The spirit of support, that we want to recommend and promote, is precisely the one of the Pontifical Mission Societies, whose importance we have repeatedly emphasized. These Works, in fact, were born within the Christian Community, with the purpose of encouraging the missionary conscience of all the People of God; and it is because of their universal, and, literally Catholic, nature that our Predecessors granted them this title: “Pontifical”. By this designation, which is not only honorary or decorative, the Pontifical Mission Societies express and bear witness to their total availability to help those “who preside over universal charity”. Given their pontifical character, the same Works are also episcopal, that is to say at the service of the episcopal collegiality and of each Bishop in particular, because it is a principle of unity in his own local Church and it is responsible for the universal evangelization. Such Works are therefore, in the field of missionary co-operation, the privileged means available to all the People of God.

(Message of His Holiness Paul VI for World Mission Day, May 14, 1978.)