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Christians are called to evangelize the poor, Pope emphasizes

January 25, 2016

Making clear that evangelization is neither “giving social assistance” nor “political activity,” Pope Francis emphasized in his January 24 Angelus that Christians are called to follow Christ’s example of evangelizing the poor.

As he reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (Lk. 1:1-4, 4:14-21), the Pope told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square that “to evangelize the poor” is “the mission of Jesus, according to what He Himself says; this is also the mission of the Church, and of every person baptized in the Church.”

“To be Christian and to be a missionary is the same thing,” he continued. “To proclaim the Gospel, with words, and, even before that, with one’s life, is the principal end of the Christian community and of each of its members.”

Pope Francis added:

It is known that Jesus addresses the Good News to everyone, without excluding anyone; and yet, He privileges those who are furthest away, the suffering, the sick, those discarded by society. But let us ask ourselves a question. What does it mean to evangelize the poor? It means above all being close to them, having the joy of serving them, freeing them from oppression, and all this in the name of and with the Spirit of Christ, because He is the Gospel of God, He is the Mercy of God, He is the liberation of God. It is He who was made poor in order to enrich us with His poverty …

Probably in the time of Jesus these people were not at the centre of the community of faith. And we can ask ourselves: today, in our parish communities, in the associations, in the movements, are we faithful to the program of Christ? Is the evangelization of the poor, bringing to them the good news, the priority? Be attentive: this isn’t about giving social assistance, much less about political activity. It has to do with the strength of the Gospel of God, who converts hearts, heals the wounded, transforms human and social relationships according to the logic of love. The poor, in fact, are at the heart of center of the Gospel.


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