Thursday, October 1, 2020

Therefore, this transmission of the faith, the heart of the Church’s mission, happens through the “contagion” of love, where joy and enthusiasm become the expression of a newfound meaning and fulfilment in life. The propagation of the faith “by attraction” calls for hearts that are open and dilated by love. It is not possible to put limits on love, for love is strong as death (ref. Sg 8:6). And that expansion engenders encounter, testimony, proclamation; it engenders sharing in charity with all those far from the faith, indifferent to it and perhaps even hostile and opposed to it. Human, cultural and religious settings still foreign to the Gospel of Jesus and to the sacramental presence of the Church represent the extreme peripheries, the “ends of the earth”, to which, ever since the first Easter, Jesus’ missionary disciples have been sent, with the certainty that their Lord is always with them (ref. Mt 28:20; Acts 1:8). This is what we call the missio ad gentes. The most desolate periphery of all is where mankind, in need of Christ, remains indifferent to the faith or shows hatred for the divine fullness of life. Every material and spiritual poverty, every form of discrimination against our brothers and sisters, is always a consequence of the rejection of God and his love.

(Message of His Holiness Francis for World Mission Day, May 20, 2018.)