Pope Francis prayed the Angelus this Sunday with pilgrims and tourists gathered in a sun-drenched St. Peter’s Square. He used his words to the crowd ahead of the traditional noonday prayer of Marian devotion to reflect on the different ways in which Christians of every age, state, and calling in the Church can respond to the common baptismal vocation to be missionaries – Ambassadors of Christ in daily life, to people near and far.
“What is the spirit with which the disciple of Jesus will carry out this mission?” Pope Francis asked. “First of all: the Christian must be aware of the difficult and sometimes hostile reality that awaits him; Jesus minces no words on that; in fact, Jesus says, ‘I am sending you like lambs among wolves’.”
“Hostility,” continued the Holy Father, “is always at the beginning of the persecution of Christians, because Jesus knows that the mission is opposed by the work of the Evil One. Thus the worker of the Gospel will strive to be free from human influences of every kind: carrying neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes – as recommended by Jesus – relying solely on the power of the Cross of Christ.”
Pope Francis went on to say, “This means giving up all personal reason to boast, putting off every temptation careerism or hunger for power: it means being humble instruments of the salvation worked by Jesus’ own sacrifice.”
“When we do this,” said Pope Francis, departing from his prepared remarks, “[our] heart is filled with joy.”
“This expression makes me think about how much the Church rejoices,” he continued, “rejoices when her children receive the Good News by way of the dedication of so many men and women who daily proclaim the Gospel: priests – those good pastors that we all know – nuns, consecrated persons, missionary men and women – and I wonder – [how many of you] hear the invitation – how many of you young people who now are present in the square today, hear and heed the Lord’s call to follow him?”
“Be not afraid!” he said. “Be brave and bring to others this torch of apostolic zeal that has been left by [so many] exemplary disciples.”
Source: Vatican Radio