‘Nurture the joy of evangelization,’ Pope says in World Mission Sunday message
June 16, 2014
In his message for World Mission Sunday, which will take place on October 19, Pope Francis reflected on the missionary work of the 72 disciples (Lk. 10) as a “biblical icon” of the joy of evangelization.
The Holy See Press Office released the message, dated Pentecost Sunday, on June 14. Some biblical translations, relying on different ancient manuscripts, refer to 70 disciples rather than to 72.
“The Evangelist tells us that the Lord sent the 72 disciples two by two into cities and villages to proclaim that the Kingdom of God was near, and to prepare people to meet Jesus,” said Pope Francis. “The disciples were filled with joy, 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.”
After reflecting on joy and the Holy Trinity and on the Blessed Virgin Mary as the cause of our joy, Pope Francis said that “humanity greatly needs to lay hold of the salvation brought by Christ. His disciples are those who allow themselves to be seized ever more by the love of Jesus and marked by the fire of passion for the Kingdom of God and the proclamation of the joy of the Gospel. All the Lord’s disciples are called to nurture the joy of evangelization.”
Many parts of the world are experiencing a dearth of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. Often this is due to the absence of contagious 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. For this reason I encourage parish communities, associations and groups to live an intense fraternal life, grounded in love for Jesus and concern for the needs of the most disadvantaged. Wherever there is joy, enthusiasm and a desire to bring Christ to others, genuine vocations arise. Among these vocations, we should not overlook lay vocations to mission.
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