VATICAN – Pope Francis to Cardinals: The Church’s mission stems from wonder and gratitude

VATICAN – Pope Francis to Cardinals: The Church’s mission stems from wonder and gratitude

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – Jesus’ call to proclaim his Gospel should not be understood as a call to missionary mobilization which is added to the daily duties of life. The impetus to communicate the salvation of Christ to the world can only unfold freely if we experience the “new wonder” felt by the “disciples in the encounter with the risen Christ, who sends them on mission” . Pope Francis recalled this on Tuesday afternoon, in the homily of the Eucharistic liturgy which he presided in the Vatican basilica with the members of the College of Cardinals.
In various passages of his homily, and in particular in his words to the new Cardinals created during the ordinary public Consistory held on Saturday August 27, the Bishop of Rome insistently recalled the traits of grateful wonder that characterize all authentic apostolic actions. which have characterized the world since the beginning of Christian history, as a paradigm of all “missionary renewal”, the spirit with which “the eleven disciples” listened to the words of the risen Christ, who called them to go into the world and to “make disciples of all, and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them all that I have commanded you.” The Pope also recalled Jesus’ promise , who spoke “of hope and consolation” to his disciples: “I am with you forever, until the end of time”. These words of the Risen One – according to the Pope – “still have power, even after two thousand years, to vibrate r our hearts”.
And “the unfathomable divine decision to evangelize the world from this poor group of disciples who, as the evangelist notes, were still in doubt, never ceases to amaze us. The same wonder – continues the Successor of Peter , comparing the adventure of the first disciples to the present of the Church – “takes hold of us today gathered here, to whom the Lord has repeated the same words, the same mission” in his direct address to the members of the College of Cardinals, which he warns against complacency, “is a way of salvation! May God keep it always alive in our hearts, for it frees us from the temptation to think that we can ‘manage things’, that we are “most prominent” Or the false security of thinking that today is somehow different, more like the origins, today the Church is big, strong, and we are in prominent positions in his hierarchy – indeed, they call us “Your Eminence”… There is there is some truth in it, but there is also much deceit, by which the Father of Falsehood always seeks to make Christ’s disciples first worldly, then harmless”.
Even the call to be part of the College of Cardinals – continued the Sovereign Pontiff – “can lead you to the temptation of worldliness, which little by little takes away your strength, takes away your hope; it prevents you from seeing the gaze of Jesus who calls us by name and sends us. hope, prevents you from seeing the gaze of Jesus who calls us by name and sends us. These are the seeds of spiritual worldliness”. A temptation from which, according to the Pope, one can only be freed if “this initial baptismal wonder is renewed in hearts”.
Only this possible new beginning of grace – according to the Pope – and not trust in human and ecclesiastical prudence and competence can “make the community of believers attractive, first for themselves and then for all: the double mystery to be saved in Christ and to go into the world with Christ”. A mystery”, recalled the bishop of Rome, “which is already indicated in the letters of Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, in which the apostolic action and missionary concerns are always filled with the grace of grateful admiration that precedes everything… And this is perhaps the measure, the thermometer of our spiritual life”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 31/ 08/2022)


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Charles K. Eckert