Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Church is and must continue to be a missionary, because " for once the Church stops moving, once she becomes closed in on herself, she falls ill, she can be corrupted, whether by sins or by that false knowledge cut off from God which is worldly secularism". For this reason "the memory of the missionaries sustains us at a time when we are experiencing a scarcity of labourers in the service of the Gospel". This was the focus of Pope Francis' homily this morning at Thanksgiving Mass for the canonization of the two Canadian missionaries s - Saint François de Laval and Saint Marie de l'Incarnation - which took place on April 3.
The two new saints, considered the founders of the Church in Canada, "have gone out to call everyone, in the highways and byways of the world. And there are many brothers and sisters in mission who continue to live the Gospel in the world today even at the cost of their own life, often they are even murdered for this". But the example of the missionaries is crucial for the well-being of the entire Catholic community: "Missionaries have received this call: they have gone out to call everyone, in the highways and byways of the world. In this way they have done immense good for the Church, for once the Church stops moving, once she becomes closed in on herself, she falls ill, she can be corrupted, whether by sins or by that false knowledge cut off from God which is worldly secularism".
The evangelizing mission of the Church, said the Pope, "is essentially a proclamation of God's love, mercy and forgiveness, revealed to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like Saint Paul, they have become all things to all people; they have been able to live in poverty and abundance, in plenty and hunger; they have been able to do all things in him who strengthens them (cf. Phil 4:12-13). With this God-given strength, they have the courage to "go forth" into the highways of the world with confidence in the Lord who has called them. Such is the life of a missionary... And then to end up far from home, far from their homelands, often killed, murdered. This happens even today, to many of our brothers and sisters".
The memory of the missionaries, says the Pope, " The memory of the missionaries sustains us at a time when we are experiencing a scarcity of labourers in the service of the Gospel. May Québec once again be the source of many missionary saints, may this memory help us not to abandon frankness. Do not abandon courage! Maybe ... no, no, maybe it is true. The devil is envious and can not stand a land to be so fertile in missionaries. Let us pray to the Lord that Quebec once again set out on this path of fertility, to give many missionaries to the world. And let us pray these two who have - so to speak - founded the Church of Quebec help us as intercessors, they who have sown the seed that will grow and bear fruit in new brave men and women of vision, with an heart open to Lord's call. Today, you must ask this for your country! And they from heaven will be our intercessors. That Québec may return to being the source of good and holy missionaries".
Finally, an invitation to all: "Paying tribute to those who suffered to bring the Gospel means we too must carry on the good fight of faith, with humility, gentleness and mercy, in everyday life. And this bears fruit. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face".