Pope Francis on World Mission Sunday

Source: Vatican News

At 10 this morning, XXIX Sunday of Ordinary Time, in the Vatican Basilica, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass for World Mission Sunday, as part of the Extraordinary Missionary Month. The full homily text follows:

From the readings I would like to pick up three words: a noun, a verb and an adjective. The noun is the mountain: Isaiah speaks of it, prophesying of a mountain of the Lord, high above the hills, to which all peoples will flow (see Is 2,2). The mountain returns in the Gospel, since Jesus, after his resurrection, indicates to the disciples as a meeting place a mountain of Galilee, just that Galilee populated by many different peoples, the "Galilee of the Gentiles" (see Mt4:15). It seems, in short, that the mountain is the place where God loves to give an appointment to the whole of humanity. It is the meeting place with us, as shown in the Bible from Sinai to Carmel to Jesus, who proclaimed the Beatitudes on the mountain, was transfigured on Mount Tabor, gave his life on Calvary and ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives. The mountain, the place of great encounters between God and man, is also the place where Jesus spent hours and hours in prayer (see Mk 6:46), to unite earth and Heaven, we his brothers to the Father.

What does the mountain say to us? That we are called to draw closer to God and to others: to God, the Most High, in silence, in prayer, distancing ourselves from the rumours and gossip that pollute. But also to others, who from the mountain can be seen in another perspective, that of God who calls all peoples: from above others are seen as a whole and it turns out that the harmony of beauty is given only by the whole . The mountain reminds us that brothers and sisters should not be selected, but embraced, with a look and above all with life. The mountain links God and the brothers in a single embrace, that of prayer. The mountain takes us upwards, away from so many material things that pass; invites us to rediscover the essential, what remains: God and the brothers. The mission begins on the mountain: there you discover what matters. At the heart of this missionary month, let us ask ourselves: what matters to me in life? What are the peaks at which point?

A verb accompanies the noun mount: rise . Isaiah exhorts us: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord" (2,3). We were not born to stay on the ground, to be satisfied with flat things, we were born to reach the heights, to meet God and the brothers. But for this we must ascend: we must leave a horizontal life, fight against the gravity of selfishness, make an exodus from one's own ego. Going up, therefore, is hard work, but it is the only way to see everything better, like when you go to the mountains and only at the top you can see the most beautiful view and you understand that you could not conquer it except for that path always climb.

And as in the mountains one cannot climb well if one is burdened with things, so in life one must lighten up what is not needed. It is also the secret of the mission: to leave one must leave, to announce one must renounce . The credible announcement is not made of fine words, but of a good life: a life of service, which knows how to renounce so many material things that make the heart smaller, make people indifferent and close in on themselves; a life that is detached from the uselessness that engulfs the heart and finds time for God and for others. We can ask ourselves: how is my climb? Do I know how to renounce the heavy and useless baggage of worldliness to climb the mountain of the Lord? Is my road uphill or "climbing"?

If the mountain reminds us of what matters - God and the brothers - and the word ascend how to get there, a third word resounds today as the strongest. It is the adjective all , which prevails in the Readings: " all peoples", said Isaiah (2,2); " All peoples", we repeated in the Psalm; God wants "that all men may be saved", writes Paul ( 1 Tim 2: 4); "Go and make disciples of all peoples", asks Jesus in the Gospel ( Mt 28,19). The Lord is obstinate in repeating this all. He knows that we are stubborn in repeating "my" and "our": my things, our people, our community ..., and He never tires of repeating "everyone". All, because no one is excluded from his heart, from his salvation; all, so that our heart goes beyond human customs, beyond the particularisms based on the selfishness that God does not like. Everyone, because everyone is a precious treasure and the meaning of life is to give this treasure to others. Here is the mission: to climb the mountain to pray for everyone and to come down from the mountain to be a gift to all.

Going up and down: the Christian, therefore, is always on the move, outgoing. Go is in fact the imperative of Jesus in the Gospel. We meet many people every day, but - we can ask ourselves - do we go to meet the people we find? Do we make the invitation of Jesus our own or are we going to do our business? Everyone expects things from others, the Christian goes towards others. The witness of Jesus is never in credit of recognition from others, but in debt of love towards those who do not know the Lord. The witness of Jesus goes out to all, not just his own, in his little group. Jesus also says to you: "Go, do not miss the opportunity to testify!" Brother, sister, the Lord expects from you that testimony that no one can give in your place. "May Heaven grant that you can recognise what that word is, that message of Jesus that God wishes to tell the world with your life, [...] so your precious mission will not be lost" ( Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate , 24 ).

What instructions does the Lord give us to go to all? One, very simple: make disciples . But beware: his disciples , not ours. The Church announces well only if she lives as a disciple. And the disciple follows the Master every day and shares the joy of discipleship with others. Not conquering, obliging, making proselytes, but witnessing, putting himself on the same level, disciples with the disciples, offering with love that love which we have received. This is the mission: to give pure air, high altitude, to those who live immersed in the pollution of the world; to bring to earth that peace which fills us with joy every time we meet Jesus on the mountain, in prayer; show with life and even in words that God loves everyone and never tires of anyone.

Dear brothers and sisters, each of us has, each of us " is a mission on this earth" (see Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 273). We are here to witness, bless, console, raise up, transmit the beauty of Jesus. Courage, he expects so much from you! The Lord has a kind of anxiety for those who do not yet know that they are children loved by the Father, brothers for whom he gave his life and the Holy Spirit. Do you want to calm Jesus' anxiety? Go with love towards everyone, because your life is a precious mission: it is not a burden to be suffered, but a gift to offer. Courage, without fear: let's go to everyone!

[Original text: Italian]

Tags: Mission, World Mission Sunday, Pope Francis

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