01/24/2016, 13.24
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Pope: Evangelising the poor is "the priority"; it is not "social work, much less about political activity”

Before the Angelus, Pope Francis reaffirmed that evangelising the poor is "the mission of Jesus" and "the mission of the Church, and of every baptised person", asking “are we faithful to Christ’s plans?” May Mary “help us strongly feel the hunger and thirst of the Gospel that is in the world, especially in the heart and the flesh of the poor.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – "Is the evangelisation of the poor, bringing them glad tidings, the priority?" said Pope Francis in a question addressed to the faithful who had gathered in St Peter's Square for today’s Angelus. “Remember,” he added, “it is not about performing social work, much less about political activity. It is about offering the power of God’s Gospel, which converts hearts, heals, transforms human and social relations according to the logic of love. The poor, in fact, are at the heart of the Gospel."

The pope’s question comes from today’s Gospel (Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, C, Luke 4, 1-4.14-21) in which Jesus applies to himself the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor’ (Lk 4:18).

For the pope, "To evangelise the poor: this is the mission of Jesus; this is also the mission of the Church, and of all the baptised in the Church. To be a Christian and be a missionary are the same thing. Proclaiming the Gospel – through the word and, before that, through life – is the main purpose of the Christian community and all its members. Here we can see that Jesus addresses the good news to everyone, without exception; indeed, he favours those who are the farthest, the marginalised, the sick."

"What does it mean to evangelise the poor? It means approaching them, experiencing the joy of serving them, freeing them from their oppression, and all this in the name and with the Spirit of Christ, because He is the Gospel of God, He is the Mercy of God, He is the deliverance of God, he is the One who became poor to enrich us with his poverty. Isaiah’s text, reinforced by small adaptations introduced by Jesus, shows that the messianic proclamation of the Kingdom of God who has come among us is preferentially directed at the marginalised, the prisoners, the oppressed."

"Probably,” he added, “in the time of Jesus, these people were not the centre of the community of faith. Thus, we may ask ourselves, today, in our parish communities, associations, and movements, are we faithful to Christ’s plans? Is the evangelisation of the poor, bringing them glad tidings, the priority? Remember: it is not about performing social work, much less about political activity. It is about offering the power of God’s Gospel, which converts hearts, heals, transforms human and social relations according to the logic of love. The poor, in fact, are at the heart of the Gospel."

Finally, the pontiff concluded saying, “May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the evangelisers, help us strongly feel the hunger and thirst of the Gospel that is in the world, especially in the heart and the flesh of the poor. May she enable each of us and each Christian community to see concretely the great mercy that Christ has given us."

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