Pope Francis During Mass in Santa Marta

Pope Francis During Mass in Santa Marta © L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Pope's Morning Homily: Missionaries Are 'Evangelization Heroes' of Our Times

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Says ‘It’s Really Worth It to Live Our Lives’ … in Service

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Missionaries are the ‘evangelization heroes’ of our times.
According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father stressed this during his daily morning Mass today at Casa Santa Marta, as he discussed the characteristics of men and women who choose to serve the Church as missionaries.
The Pontiff drew his inspiration from the day’s reading where Paul takes his leave from the community at Miletus and talks of being compelled by the Holy Spirit to go next to Jerusalem.
Francis highlighted that Paul had a burning desire to dedicate his life to announcing the Gospel, and that flame that burned in his and every Apostle’s heart is the same one alive in the hearts of so many young people who have left their family and homeland to announce Jesus in far off lands.
Consumed by Spirit
The Pope went on to praise this «irresistible drive» of missionaries who donate their lives to the service of Christ. He highlighted that Paul was certain that the Holy Spirit possessed absolute mastery over his life, and therefore announced the Gospel, despite problems and difficulties.
I believe, the Pope said, this excerpt evokes for us the life of missionaries throughout the ages.
“They went forward compelled by the Holy Spirit: a vocation!  And when we went to the cemeteries in those places, we see their tombs: so many of them died at an early age before they reached 40.  The reason is because they were not used to and couldn’t recover from the diseases present in those places.
«They gave up their young lives: they had consumed their lives.  I’m thinking of them in their last moment on earth, far from their homeland, their families and their loved ones, who said: ‘What I did was worth it!’”
Without knowing what awaits him or her, missionaries set out, the Pope said.
“Our missionaries, these evangelization heroes of our times…..   Europe who filled up other continents with missionaries…. And these people went without ever returning home….  I think it is only right that we give thanks to the Lord for their testimony. It’s right that we rejoice for having these missionaries who are true witnesses.  I’m wondering what the final moment on earth was like for these people: how did they bid farewell?  Like Xaxier: ‘I left everything but it was worth it!’
«They passed away, nameless. They were martyrs who offered up their lives for the Gospel. These missionaries are our glory! The glory of our Church!”
One key quality of a missionary, Pope Francis stressed, is that “docility” towards the Spirit and said he prayed that instead of the dissatisfaction afflicting today’s young people, that the voice of the Spirit compels them to give over their lives for a noble cause.
Pope Francis concluded his homily giving young people some practical advice.
“I would like to say to the young men and women of nowadays who don’t feel at ease – (who say) ‘But I’m not that happy with this consumerist and narcissistic culture ….’   ‘But look at the horizon! Look who’s there, look at our missionaries!’ Pray to the Holy Spirit who compels them to go far away, to consume or burn up their lives. It’s a rather hard word, but it’s worth it to really live our lives.  But we need to live it in a good way, to ‘consume’ it in service, in evangelizing and journey forward. This is the joy of announcing the Gospel.”

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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