VATICAN CITY, MARCH 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- They might not realize it, but people today are asking to see Christ, and the Church must respond to their need, Benedict XVI says.
The Pope reflected on hunger for the face of God in his message for the 84th World Mission Day, which will be observed Oct. 24.
The message, on “The Key of the Mission Is the Building of Ecclesial Communion,” was released today in Italian.
“In a multiethnic society that increasingly experiences forms of worrying loneliness and indifference, Christians must learn to give signs of hope and to be universal brothers, cultivating the great ideals that transform history and, without false illusions or useless fears, be committed to make the planet a home for all peoples,” the Holy Father wrote.
The Pontiff affirmed how God the Father “calls us to be beloved children in his Son, the Beloved, and to recognize ourselves all as brothers in him, Gift of Salvation for humanity divided by discord and sin, and Revealer of the true face of God.”
“The men of our time,” he said, “perhaps not always consciously, ask believers not only to ‘speak’ of Jesus, but that they make Jesus ‘be seen,’ that they make the Face of the Redeemer shine in every corner of the earth to the generations of the new millennium, and especially to the young people of every continent.”
Young people “must perceive that Christians spread the word of Christ because he is the Truth, because in him they have found meaning, the truth for their lives,” the Pope declared.
Benedict XVI pointed to the missionary mandate shared by all the baptized, but said that to fulfill this call, there must be a “profound personal, community and pastoral conversion.”
He invited believers to see in the missionary vocation a stimulus for diocesan and parish communities to engage in an “integral renewal and to open themselves increasingly to missionary cooperation between the Churches, to promote the proclamation of the Gospel in the heart of every person, every nation, culture, race, nationality, in every area.”
Only after an encounter with the Love of God, he said, “can we live in communion with him and among ourselves, and to give brothers a credible witness, giving the reason for the hope that is in us.”
“What the world needs is the love of God, to encounter Christ and to believe in him,” he affirmed.
The Pope made a concrete invitation to a “commitment of fraternal help and concrete support of the young Churches,” despite “the economic difficulties.”
He said this help will “sustain the formation of priests, seminarians and catechists in the distant mission lands and will animate the young ecclesial communities.”