Don't stay 'locked up' in your parish or movement, Pope teaches
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Christians are called to be disciples of Jesus with a mission, going out from their small circles to make disciples of all nations, Pope Francis taught today during the closing Mass of World Youth Day.

“Jesus is speaking to each one of us, saying: 'It was wonderful to take part in World Youth Day, to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go, now you must pass on this experience to others,'” Pope Francis told the crowd of pilgrims on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach July 28 during his homily for the Mass for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The first need for evangelization is to “go,” Pope Francis taught. “During these days here in Rio, you have been able to enjoy the wonderful experience of meeting Jesus … and you have sensed the joy of faith,”  he reflected with the pilgrims.

“But the experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community.”

When faith stays “locked up” within a small Christian community, it is “like withholding oxygen from a flame that was burning strongly,” Pope Francis preached.

“Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love and confess Jesus Christ.”

“Jesus did not say: 'if you would like to, if you have the time',” the Bishop of Rome admonished his fellow pilgrims.

The command to evangelize, to make disciples of all nations, is not optional, not conditional.

“It is a command that is born not from a desire for domination or power but from the force of love, from the fact that Jesus first came into our midst and gave us, not a part of himself, but the whole of himself; he gave his life in order to save us and to show us the love and mercy of God.”

In sending us out, Christ remains always with us, the Pope assured his listeners: “he is always beside us in our mission of love.”

The Church is meant to evangelize all persons, Pope Francis taught, saying there are “no borders, no limits” to where Christians are sent to evangelize.

“The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some.”

“It is not only for those who seem closer to us, more receptive, more welcoming. It is for everyone.”

“Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Lord seeks all, he wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love.”

He appealed in particular to the youth of Latin America to proclaim the Gospel in their homes “with fresh power.” The best tool for evangelizing young people, he said, is “another young person.”

Pope Francis' second point about evangelization was “do not be afraid.” Being a Christian does not require “particular preparation,” he said, but a realization that Christ accompanies us.

“When we go to proclaim Christ, it is he himself who goes before us and guides us.”

Not only is Christ with us when we go on mission, but the Church and the communion of saints accompany us as well, because “we are sent together,” the Pope reminded the pilgrims.

“When we face challenges together, then we are strong, we discover resources we did not know we had. Jesus did not call the Apostles to live in isolation, he called them to form a group, a community.”

Pope Francis added that service is an important aspect of evangelization. The “new song” sung to the Lord “does not consist of words, it is not a melody,” he said, but is rather “the song of your life, it is allowing our life to be identified with that of Jesus. It is sharing his sentiments … his actions.”

“And the life of Jesus is a life for others. It is a life of service.”

Evangelization, the Roman Pontiff taught, is “bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did.”

The three marks of evangelization, going, being unafraid, and serving, will end up evangelizing the evangelist, the Pope assured the young pilgrims.

“Dear young friends, as you return to your homes, do not be afraid to be generous with Christ, to bear witness to his Gospel.”

Evangelization, he said, brings “God's power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance and hatred, so as to build a new world.”

“Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you,” he told them.

Pope Francis concluded by praying that Mary, Christ's Mother “and our Mother,” might “always accompany you with her tenderness.”

Tags: World Youth Day, Evangelization, Rio

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 26, 2015

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30