05/14/2011
VATICAN

As he welcomed the participants to the General Assembly of the Pontifical Missions Society (PMS), Benedict XVI emphasised that in our age, the Church cannot avoid “explicitly” proclaiming its faith and pursuing its action for the advent of the Kingdom of God, a “Kingdom of justice, peace, freedom and love.”


Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The “ministry of evangelisation is fascinating and demanding”. In an age in which the “rich and prosperous” First World is “uncertain about its future,” and emerging nations see “the light of hope dim”, every baptised Christian must be involved in this mission. Christians “must not be afraid” even though “they are the religious group that suffers the most persecution because of their faith”.
In his speech to the participants of the General Assembly of the Pontifical Missions Society, Benedict XVI reiterated today the duty of the entire Church of proclaiming the Gospel, which “is part of life itself, as it was for Jesus” because “the Church is mission”.
“New problems and servitudes have emerged in our times, in both the so-called first world, rich and prosperous, yet uncertain about is future, and in emerging nations where, owing to profit-driven globalisation, the masses of the poor, the emigrants and the oppressed grow, whilst the light of hope dims. The Church must constantly renew its commitment to bring Christ [to the world], extend his messianic mission, for the advent of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of justice, peace, freedom and love. Transforming the world according to God’s plans with the revolutionary force of the Gospel, “so that God may be in all” (1Cor, 15:28), is the task of the entire People of God. It is therefore necessary to continue with renewed enthusiasm the work of evangelisation, joyfully proclaim the Kingdom of God, which has come in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, to lead men towards the true freedom of the children of God against every form of slavery. It is necessary to throw the Gospel’s nets into the sea of history to bring men towards the land of God.”
The “mission of proclaiming the word of God is the task of all of the disciples of Jesus Christ based on their Baptism” (Esort. ap. Verbum Domini, 94). However, for a strong commitment to evangelisation be made, it is necessary that individual Christians as a community truly believe that “the word of God is the saving truth which men and women in every age need to hear” (ibid, 95). If the conviction of faith is not deeply rooted in our life, we cannot feel the passion and beauty of proclaiming it. In reality, each Christian must feel the urgency of building the Kingdom of God. Everything in the Church is at the service of evangelisation in every sector of activity, which every person in his or her various tasks is called to perform. Everyone must be involved in the missio ad gentes: bishops, presbyters, men and women religious as well as lay people.
The fundamental condition of the proclamation, Benedict XVI said, “is to let oneself be completely seized by Christ. Only if we are deeply rooted in Christ and his Word are we capable of not giving in to the temptation of reducing evangelisation to a human and social project, hiding or silencing the transcendental dimension of the salvation God offers in Christ. It is a Word that must be witnessed and proclaimed explicitly because without a coherent witness, it appears less comprehensible and credible. Although we often feel inadequate, poor and incapable, we must always retain confidence in the power of God, who puts his treasure in ‘jars of clay’ so that it is He who to act through us.
The ministry of evangelisation is fascinating and demanding. It requires loves for the proclamation and witness, a love so total that it can also bring about martyrdom. The Church cannot falter in its mission to bring the light of Christ and proclaim the Good News of the Gospel, even if that entails persecution (cf Esort. ap. Verbum Domini, 95). It is part of life itself, as it was for Jesus. Christians must not fear, even though they ‘are the religious group which suffers most from persecution on account of its faith’ (Message for World Day of Peace 2011, 1). Saint Paul said, “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom, 8:38-39).

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