Pope: Mission is testimony, it is giving pure air to those who live in the pollution of the world
On World Mission Day, Francis said that "believers at this time are called to bring everywhere, with new enthusiasm, the good news that mercy overcomes sin in Jesus, hope overcomes fear, brotherhood overcomes hostility.” PIME missionary Fr Alfredo Cremonesi is remembered. Killed in Burma in 1953, he was a tireless apostle of peace and a zealous witness of the Gospel, until his blood was shed.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St Peter’s Basilica today, the 93rd World Mission Day. Participants to the Synod for the Amazon were also present.
In his address, the pontiff said that the mission is a testimony of a good life, a life of service, one of giving “pure and fresh to those immersed in the pollution of the world". It means “to show by our lives, and perhaps even by our words, that God loves everyone and never tires of anyone.”
The Day, he said during the Angelus, "is a favourable opportunity for every baptised person to become more aware of the need to cooperate in proclaiming the Kingdom of God through a renewed commitment."
Before the Marian prayer, Francis said that one hundred years ago Benedict XV "promulgated the Apostolic Letter Maximum illud to give new impetus to the missionary responsibility of the whole Church."
"In today's changed context, Benedict XV's message is still current and encourages us to overcome the temptation of seeking self-referential closure and every form of pastoral pessimism”. Instead, it allows us “to open ourselves to the joyful novelty of the Gospel.”
“In our time, marked by a globalisation that should be supportive and respectful of the character of peoples, and instead still suffers from homogenisation and old power conflicts that fuel wars and ruin the planet, believers are called at this time to bring everywhere, with new enthusiasm, the good news that mercy overcomes sin in Jesus, hope overcomes fear, brotherhood overcomes hostility. Christ is our peace and in Him every division is overcome, in him there is only the salvation of every human being and every people."
After the Angelus, Francis said that "yesterday, in Crema, the martyr Fr Alfredo Cremonesi, a missionary priest with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was proclaimed blessed. Killed in Burma in 1953, he was a tireless apostle of peace and a zealous witness of the Gospel, until his blood was shed. May his example push us to be courageous workers and missionaries in every environment; may his intercession support those who struggle today to sow the Gospel in the world.”
Previously, during the Mass, Francis centred his homily on three words. The first one was "mountain". In the Bible “It seems [. . .] that the mountain is God’s favourite place for encountering humanity. It is his meeting place with us, as we see in the Bible, beginning with Mount Sinai and Mount Carmel, all the way to Jesus, who proclaimed the Beatitudes on the mountain, was transfigured on Mount Tabor, gave his life on Mount Calvary and ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives.”
And the mountain tells us that “We are called to draw near to God and to others. To God, the Most High, in silence and prayer, avoiding the rumours and gossip that diminish us. And to others, who, from the mountain, can be seen in a different perspective: that of God who calls all peoples. From on high, others are seen as a community whose harmonious beauty is discovered only in viewing them as a whole. The mountain reminds us that our brothers and sisters should not be selected but embraced, not only with our gaze but also with our entire life. The mountain unites God and our brothers and sisters in a single embrace, that of prayer. The mountain draws us up and away from the many transient things, and summons us to rediscover what is essential, what is lasting: God and our brothers and sisters. Mission begins on the mountain: there, we discover what really counts.”
“A verb accompanies the noun “mountain”: the verb to go up. [. . .] We were not born to remain on the ground, to be satisfied with ordinary things, we were born to reach the heights and there to meet God and our brothers and sisters. However, this means that have we go up: to leave behind a horizontal life and to resist the force of gravity caused by our self-centredness, to make an exodus from our own ego.
“And as in the mountains we cannot climb well if we are weighed down by our packs, so in life we must rid ourselves of things that are useless. This is also the secret of mission: to go, you have to leave something behind, to proclaim, you must first renounce. A credible proclamation is not made with beautiful words, but by an exemplary life: a life of service that is capable of rejecting all those material things that shrink the heart and make people indifferent and inward-looking; a life that renounces the useless things that entangle the heart in order to find time for God and others.”
“If the mountain reminds us of what matters – God and our brothers and sisters – and the verb to go up tells us how to get there, a third word is even more important for today’s celebration. It is the adjective all, which constantly reappears in the readings we have heard [. . .] The Lord is deliberate in repeating the word all. [. . .] All, because everyone is a precious treasure, and the meaning of life is found only in giving this treasure to others. Here is our mission: to go up the mountain to pray for everyone and to come down from the mountain to be a gift to all.
“Going up and coming down: the Christian, therefore, is always on the move, outward-bound. Go is in fact the imperative of Jesus in the Gospel. [. . .] Everyone expects things from others, but the Christian goes to others. Bearing witness to Jesus is never about getting accolades from others, but about loving those who do not even know the Lord. Those who bear witness to Jesus go out to all, not just to their own acquaintances or their little group.”
“What instructions does the Lord give us for going forth to others? Only one, and very simple: make disciples. But, be careful: his disciples, not our own. The Church proclaims the Gospel well only if she lives the life of a disciple. And a disciple follows the Master daily and shares the joy of discipleship with others. Not by conquering, mandating, proselytizing, but by witnessing, humbling oneself alongside other disciples and offering with love the love that we ourselves received. This is our mission: to give pure and fresh air to those immersed in the pollution of our world; to bring to earth that peace which fills us with joy whenever we meet Jesus on the mountain in prayer; to show by our lives, and perhaps even by our words, that God loves everyone and never tires of anyone.
“Dear brothers and sisters, each of us has and is “a mission on this earth” (Evangelii Gaudium, 273). We are here to witness, bless, console, raise up, and radiate the beauty of Jesus. Have courage! Jesus expects so much from you! We can say that the Lord is “concerned” about those who do not yet know that they are beloved children of the Father, brothers and sisters for whom he gave his life and sent the Holy Spirit. Do you want to quell Jesus’ concern? Go and show love to everyone, because your life is a precious mission: it is not a burden to be borne, but a gift to offer. Have courage, and let us fearlessly go forth to all!”