The work of evangelisation often finds obstacles, not only externally, but also from within the ecclesial community…. Sometimes, it is still thought, that proclaiming the truth of the Gospel means an incursion on freedom. Paul VI speaks eloquently on this: “It would be … an error to impose something on the consciences of our brethren. But to propose to their consciences the truth of the Gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ, with complete clarity and with total respect for free options which it presents … is a tribute to this freedom” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80). We must always have the courage and the joy of proposing, with respect an encounter with Christ, and become heralds of his Gospel. Jesus came amongst us to show us the way of salvation and he entrusted to us the mission to make it known to all to the ends of the earth. All too often, we see that it is violence, lies and mistakes that are emphasised and proposed. It is urgent in our time to announce and witness the goodness of the Gospel, and this from within the Church itself….
In our era, the widespread mobility and facility of communication through new media have mingled people, knowledge, experience. For work reasons entire families move from one continent to another; professional and cultural exchanges, tourism, and other phenomena have also propelled great movements of peoples. This makes it difficult, even for the parish community, to know who lives permanently or temporarily in the area. More and more also, in large areas of what were traditionally Christian regions, the number of those who are total strangers to faith, or indifferent to the religious dimension or animated by other beliefs have increased. Therefore it is not infrequent that, some baptised make lifestyle choices that lead them away from faith, thus making them in need of a “new evangelisation”. To all this is added the fact that a large part of humanity has not yet been reached by the good news of Jesus Christ.
We also live in a time of crisis that touches various sectors of existence, not only that of the economy, of finance, of food security, or the environment, but also that of the deeper meaning of life and the fundamental values that animate it. Even human coexistence is marked by tensions and conflicts that cause insecurity and difficulty in finding the right path that leads to a stable peace. In this complex situation, where the horizon of the present and future paths seem threatened by menacing clouds, it is necessary to proclaim with courage in all realities, the Gospel of Christ, which is a message of hope, reconciliation, communion and proclamation of God’s closeness, of his mercy, his salvation; a proclamation that the power of God’s love is able to overcome the darkness of evil and guide us on the path of goodness.
Humanity of our time needs the secure light that illuminates its path and that only the encounter with Christ can give. Let us bring to this world, through our witness, with love, the hope given by faith! The Church’s missionarity is not proselytising, but the testimony of a life that illuminates the path, which brings hope and love. The Church – I repeat once again – is not a relief organisation, an enterprise or an NGO, but a community of people, animated by the Holy Spirit, who have lived and are living the wonder of the encounter with Jesus Christ and want to share this experience of deep joy, the message of salvation that the Lord gave us. It is the Holy Spirit that guides the Church in this path.
From “Message for World Mission Sunday” (2013)