Hope Needs to Be Contagious, Says Pontiff

Calls Proclaiming the Gospel a Duty

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that the Church’s mission is to spread hope “contagiously” through all peoples.

The Pope affirmed this in a message for the 83rd World Mission Day, which will be celebrated this year on Sunday, Oct. 18.

The June 29 message was made public Saturday.

“In truth, the whole of humanity has the radical vocation to return to its source, to return to God, since in him alone can it find fulfillment through the restoration of all things in Christ,” the Holy Father wrote. “Dispersion, multiplicity, conflict and enmity will be healed and reconciled through the blood of the cross and led back to unity.”

The Church is called to spread hope, and Christ “calls, justifies, sanctifies and sends his disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God, so that all nations may become the People of God,” he added.

The Pontiff affirmed that only in this mission the “true journey of humanity is understood and attested.”

“The universal mission should become a fundamental constant in the life of the Church,” Benedict XVI contended. “Proclamation of the Gospel must be for us, as it was for the Apostle Paul, a primary and unavoidable duty.”

Priorities

Benedict XVI particularly mentioned those who have given their lives in fulfilling this duty.

“Even today, not a few are put to death for the sake of his ‘Name,'” he acknowledged.

“The Church walks the same path and suffers the same destiny as Christ,” the Bishop of Rome stated, “since she acts not on the basis of any human logic or relying on her own strength, but instead she follows the way of the cross, becoming, in filial obedience to the Father, a witness and a traveling companion for all humanity.”

The Holy Father thus reminds Churches, recently founded and ancient, that they are called to be “the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”

The Lord has called his Church, he said, “to spread Christ, the Light of the nations, to the far corners of the earth. They must make the ‘missio ad gentes’ a pastoral priority.”

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