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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ALL THE BAPTISED MUST COMMUNICATE THE GIFT OF THE GOSPEL

VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was the Pope's Message for the eighty-fifth World Mission Day, which falls this year on Sunday 23 October. The theme of the document is: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you".

  The call to take the Gospel to everyone, "with the same enthusiasm as the early Christians", as the Venerable John Paul II wrote in the Jubilee Year 2000, "resounds every year in the celebration of World Mission Day", says Benedict XVI in his Message.

  "The announcement of the Gospel is destined for everyone", the Pope writes. The Church "exists to evangelise", he says. "Her activity, in conformity with the word of Christ and under the influence of His grace and charity, becomes fully and truly present in all individuals and all peoples in order to lead them to faith in Christ.

  "This task has lost none of its urgency", he adds. "We cannot rest easy at the thought that, after two thousand, there are people who still do not know Christ, who have not yet heard His message of salvation.

  "What is more, there are growing numbers of people who, though having received the Gospel announcement, have forgotten or abandoned it and no longer identify themselves in the Church; and many environments, even in traditionally Christian societies, are reluctant to open themselves to the word of faith. A cultural shift is taking place, which also draws nourishment from globalisation, from new schools of thought and from the prevailing relativism; a shift which leads to mentalities and lifestyles that ignore the Evangelical message as if God did not exist, and which exalt the search for wellbeing, easy earnings, career and success as the goal of life, even at the expense of moral values".

  The Holy Father recalls how "the universal mission always involves everyone and everything. The Gospel is not the exclusive prerogative of those who received it, but a gift to be shared, a piece of good news to be passed on. This gift-commitment is entrusted not just to the few, but to all baptised people".

  "Evangelisation", he writes, "is a complex process and includes various elements. Among these, missionary activity has always given particular attention to solidarity, ... sustaining the institutions necessary to establish and consolidate the Church, ... and contributing to improving the living conditions of people in countries most affected by problems of poverty, malnutrition especially among children, disease, and lack of healthcare and education services. This too is part of the mission of the Church. In announcing the Gospel, she embraces human life in the fullest sense of the term".

  The Pope continues his Message: "It is unacceptable, as Servant of God Paul VI said, for evangelisation to overlook questions associated with human development, justice, and liberation from all forms of oppression, though obviously while respecting the autonomy of the political sphere. Ignoring the temporal problems of humanity would mean 'forgetting the Gospel lesson of love for our suffering and needy neighbours'. It would not be in keeping with Jesus' own behaviour Who 'went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness'.

  "Thus, by responsible participation in the mission of Christ, Christians become builders of the peace and solidarity that Christ gives us, and they collaborate in achieving God's plan of salvation for all humankind", Benedict XVI concluded. "May World Mission Day revive in everyone the desire to 'go out' to meet humankind, bringing Christ to everyone".
MESS/                                    VIS 20110125 (610)

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