Regina Caeli: Without Jesus, We Cannot Do Anything

Call to Proclaim the Gospel is Not Optional, Pope Says

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During his Regina Caeli address Sunday, Pope Francis explained how even our best, most organized efforts are not enough without Jesus, and how the faithful are obliged to proclaim Jesus’s message to the world.

Reflecting on the Ascension of the Lord into Heaven, celebrated in many churches of the world yesterday, the Pope drew attention to the reading from Matthew’s Gospel. The passage recounts Jesus’ mandate to his disciples: “To go, to leave and proclaim his message of salvation to all peoples.”

With these words, Jesus has called the Church to extend his mission, commanding believers to “make disciples of all nations.”

«This is it is not optional!” the Pope said, reminding those gathered that the Church was born from this missionary notion of “going out.”

“’Go’ becomes the key word for today’s feast,» he said. «Jesus leaves to go to the Father and commands his disciples to leave to go out to the world.”

By themselves, without Jesus, he stated, the disciples could not do anything, and this still applies, to us. “Without Jesus, we cannot do anything!”

Francis continued: “In the apostolate, our own strength, our own resources, our own structures, even if they are necessary, are not enough [because] without the presence of the Lord and the power of his Spirit, our work, even if it is well-organized, is ineffective. And thus we go out to people to tell them who Jesus is.”

Returning to the mystery of the Ascension, the Pope said Jesus had completed his work on Earth and returns to the Father this day, but he stressed the faithful should realize this is not a “separation” from us on Earth, because rather, in a new form, he remains with us forever.

“With his Ascension the risen Lord draws the gaze of the Apostles – and our gaze – to the heights of Heaven to show us that the Father is the goal of our journey.”

Yet, this should not shock us, for Jesus himself said that he would be leaving «to prepare a place for us in Heaven,» the Pope said. «Nevertheless,” he added that the Lord «remains present and active in the vicissitudes of human history with the power and the gifts of his Spirit.»

«He is near to each one of us, even if we do not see him with our eyes,» the Pope said. Even when we have fallen, Francis added, the Lord accompanies us, leads us, «takes us by the hand and lifts us up» because the Lord will always forgive us, not because we deserved it, but because of His Son’s sacrifice.

He closed by calling upon Mary who, like Jesus, is «with us,» «walks with us,» and is the «mother of our hope.»



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