Francis spoke about the Gospel of Luke, where the "workers" of which Jesus speaks "are the missionaries of the Kingdom of God. Their task is to proclaim a message of salvation for everyone." The mission "is hindered by the evil one”. That is why the worker of the Lord "will strive to be free" from human influences of every kind.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis spoke today before the Marian prayer about the Gospel of Luke, and the “workers” that the ‘Lord of the harvest’ must send out to work. They are the missionaries of the Kingdom of God, a task to which every Christian is called.
For the pontiff, Christians are indeed called to “a wonderful mission, destined for everybody without exception. It requires a lot of generosity, with especially one’s eyes and heart turned on high, to invoke the Lord's help. There is so much need for Christians to bear witness with joy to the Gospel in everyday life."
The task of these workers "is to proclaim a message of salvation for everyone. The missionaries are not only those who go far away but all of you, everyone, as well. This is the gift that Jesus gives us with the Holy Spirit. This proclamation means ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you’ (Lk 10:9). In fact, Jesus has brought God close to us; God became one of us. Through Jesus, God reigns in our midst; his merciful love overcomes sin and human misery."
This is the Good News that the "workers" must bring to everyone. They must bring “a message of hope and comfort, peace and charity. When Jesus sent his disciples ahead of him into the villages, he told them ‘first say, “Peace to this household [. . .] cure the sick in it and say to them” (Lk 10:5,9). All this means that the Kingdom of God is built day by day and already offers its fruits of conversion, purification, love and consolation among men on this earth. This is a beautiful thing, right? Building this Kingdom of God in the making day by day. Building, not destroying. "
The Pope then asked. "With what spirit will the disciples of Jesus carry out this mission? First of all, they must be aware of the difficult and sometimes hostile reality that awaits them. But Jesus does not spare words in this, right? Jesus said, “I am sending you like lambs among wolves’ (Lk 10:3). This is clear. There is always hostility at the beginning, the persecution of Christians. Because Jesus knows that the mission is hindered by the work of the evil one. For this reason, the workers of the Gospel will strive to be free from human influences of every kind, carrying neither money bag, nor sack, nor sandals (Lk 10:4), as Jesus recommended, to rely solely on the power of Christ’s Cross."
This "means giving up every reason to boast of personal careerism and hunger for power, and becoming humble instruments of salvation due to the sacrifice of Jesus." Christians are indeed called to “a wonderful mission, destined for everybody without exception. It requires a lot of generosity, with especially one’s eyes and heart turned on high, to invoke the Lord's help. There is so much need for Christians to bear witness with joy to the Gospel in everyday life."
The disciples sent by Jesus, Francis went on to say, “’returned rejoicing’ (Lk 10:17). When we do this, the heart is filled with joy. This expression makes me think about how much the Church rejoices, rejoices when its children receive the Good News thanks to the dedication of so many men and women who proclaim the Gospel daily. So many priests, religious, good pastors . . . "
“I wonder,” the pope said. “Listen to the question: how many of you young people who are present in the square today hear the call of the Lord? Do not be afraid, be brave, and carry the torch that was given to us by these apostles. Let us pray to the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that the Church may never lack in generous hearts, who work to bring the Heavenly Father’s love and tenderness to everyone."
After the Angelus, the Pope offered his “closeness to the families of all the people killed and wounded in the attack that took place yesterday in Dhaka, and the one that occurred [today] in Baghdad. Let us pray together. Let us pray together for them, for all the dead, and let us ask the Lord to convert the hearts of all those blinded by hatred.” After this, the pontiff recited a Hail Mary with the faithful in the square.
After this, the pontiff greeted the groups in the square, especially "some special pilgrims, in the name of Mercy", and pointed out that as part of the Year of Jubilee, next Wednesday, "we shall celebrate the memory of Saint Maria Goretti, the martyr girl who forgave her killer before dying. This brave girl deserves an applause from the entire square! I wish you all a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!"