VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Engaging in or supporting missionary activity allows Christians to enter the “flood of joy” that comes from experiencing God’s love and sharing it with others, Pope Francis said.
“The Lord’s disciples persevere in joy when they sense his presence, do his will and share with others their faith, hope and evangelical charity,” the pope said in his message for World Mission Sunday, which will be celebrated Oct. 19.
In the message, released at the Vatican June 14, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel story of Jesus sending out 72 disciples, two by two, to proclaim the kingdom of God was near.
“The disciples returned full of joy,” the pope said, pointing to Luke 10:17.
The disciples, he said, were “excited about their power to set people free from demons. But Jesus cautioned them to rejoice not so much for the power they had received, but for the love they had received.”
“The disciples were given an experience of God’s love, but also the possibility of sharing that love,” Pope Francis said.
In Jesus’ day, as in our own, he said, some people cannot accept that love or experience the joy of sharing it with others because they are “too full of themselves” or “claim to know everything already.”
The “little ones” of the Gospel, the people who recognize the gift of God’s love and share it with others, the pope said, are “the humble, the simple, the poor, the marginalized, those without voice, those weary and burdened, whom Jesus pronounced ‘blessed.'”
God’s love and promise of salvation in Jesus Christ is the key to eternal happiness, but also the answer to the emptiness and fear that come from a life focused on attaining power and material wealth, Pope Francis wrote.
Christ’s disciples are “those who allow themselves to be seized ever more by the love of Jesus” and are “marked by the fire of passion for the kingdom of God and the proclamation of the joy of the Gospel,” he said.
Pope Francis said the lack of vocations to the priesthood, religious life or to lay missionary activity in many parts of the world often can be traced to “the absence of apostolic fervor in communities, which lack enthusiasm and thus fail to attract.”
“The joy of the Gospel is born of the encounter with Christ and from sharing with the poor,” he said. “Wherever there is joy, enthusiasm and a desire to bring Christ to others, genuine vocations arise.”
Supporting the church’s missionary activity with one’s prayers and with financial offerings, the pope said, are a “sign of a self-offering, first to the Lord and then to others; in this way a material offering can become a means for the evangelization of humanity built on love.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103