By virtue of their Baptism, all Catholics are called to be missionaries, sharing the good news of salvation in Jesus by their actions and their words, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: Crux.
“The importance of renewing the Church’s missionary commitment and giving fresh evangelical impulse to her work of preaching and bringing to the world the salvation of Jesus Christ” is the focus of Francis’s message for World Mission Sunday, October 20, and for the special celebration October as “Missionary Month”.
The Pope’s message, “Baptised and sent: the Church of Christ on mission in the world”, was published by the Vatican yesterday.
The “Missionary Month” will mark the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s 1919 apostolic letter, Maximum Illud, on the Church’s missionary activity.
The document, Francis said, has two key messages that Catholics need to hear today: every Christian has a responsibility to share the Gospel; and the universality of salvation in Jesus means that all people are children of God and brothers and sisters to each other, which means rejecting “all forms of nationalism and ethnocentrism or the merging of the preaching of the Gospel with the economic and military interests of colonial powers.”
Baptism and membership in the Church go together and are essential for salvation, the Pope said. And they also can contribute to peace and harmony in the world.
The mission of sharing the Gospel and offering them the gift of baptism “is part of our identity as Christians,” the Pope said. “It makes us responsible for enabling all men and women to realise their vocation to be adoptive children of the Father, to recognise their personal dignity and to appreciate the intrinsic worth of every human life, from conception until natural death.”
When God is rejected as the father of all, he wrote, people no longer recognise each other as brothers and sisters and no longer feel obligated to respect each other’s lives.
“Without the God of Jesus Christ, every difference is reduced to a baneful threat, making impossible any real fraternal acceptance and fruitful unity within the human race,” Francis wrote.