.- Pope Benedict XVI called upon all Catholics Sept. 18 to participate in a new evangelization of the world.
“Today’s liturgy reminds us that we are all called to work in the vineyard of the Lord,” he told pilgrims gathered to pray the midday Angelus at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.
“He has given us diverse gifts, has assigned diverse tasks and determined diverse times for their performance. However, if we assume the work of our life with full dedication, we can expect the same pay: the joy of eternal participation the goodness of the Lord,” he said.
The Pope based his comments on today’s gospel reading in which Jesus recounts the parable of the vineyard owner who paid each of his workers the same wage regardless of how long they worked.
He also drew upon St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, written while the apostle was imprisoned and awaiting his death, in which he states that “for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
This “new sense of life” comes from communion with Jesus Christ who, said the Pope, is “not just a historical figure, a master of wisdom, a religious leader,” but is “a man in whom God dwells personally.”
“His death and resurrection is the good news that, starting from Jerusalem, is intended to reach all individuals and peoples,” said Pope Benedict. Thus all cultures are changed by being open to the truth that “God is love, he became man in Jesus and his sacrifice has redeemed humanity from the slavery of evil, making it a trustworthy hope.”
“Today we live in an era of new evangelization,” Pope Benedict said, drawing a parallel between the era of St. Paul and today. New evangelization is also a favored theme of his pontificate – the call to re-evangelize traditionally Christian parts of the world or, as the Pope put it today, the need for “regions of ancient Christian tradition” to “rediscover the beauty of faith.”
“The protagonists of this mission are men and women who, like St. Paul can say: 'For me to live is Christ.' People, families and communities that agree to work in the vineyard of the Lord.”
These are people who are “humble and generous” and who do not “ask for any reward other than to participate in the mission of Jesus and the Church.”
“Dear friends,” concluded the Pope, “the Gospel has transformed the world, and still is turning, like a river that irrigates a huge field.”
After the Angelus, Pope Benedict addressed various language groups, including German pilgrims. He said he looked forward to his four-day visit to Germany later this week and hoped the people of his native land will “respond generously to the offer of the boundless love of God and work for the good that is in the world.”