In the Pope's brief Gospel reflection, he focused on the Gospel that the liturgy of the Catholic Church presented for the third week of Ordinary Time Photo: Vatican Media

Pope on vocation: a Christian who is not active is not a Christian

Allocution on the occasion of the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, January 21, 2024

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 01.21.2024).- Around 20 thousand people gathered in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City to listen to the Pope’s address and pray with him at noon on Sunday, January 21, during the Angelus prayer. In the Pope’s brief Gospel reflection, he focused on the Gospel that the liturgy of the Catholic Church presented for the third week of Ordinary Time: Mark 1:14-20. Below is the Pope’s message translated into English:




The Gospel today recounts the vocation of the first disciples (cf. Mk 1:14-20). Calling others to join His mission is one of the first things Jesus does at the beginning of His public life: He approaches some young fishermen and invites them to follow Him to “become fishers of men” (v. 17). And this tells us something important: the Lord loves to involve us in His work of salvation, He wants us to be active with Him, He wants us to be responsible and protagonists. A Christian who is not active, who is not responsible in the work of proclaiming the Lord and who is not a protagonist of his faith is not Christian or, as my grandmother used to say, is a “rosewater” Christian.

In principle, God would not need us, but He does, despite the fact that it involves taking on many of our limitations: we are all limited, or rather sinners, and He takes this on. Look, for example, at how much patience He had with the disciples: often they did not understand His words (cf. Lk 9:51-56), at times they do not agree among themselves (cf. Mk 10:41), for a long time they are unable to accept some essential aspects of His preaching, such as service (cf. Lk 22:27). And yet Jesus chose them and continued to believe in them. This is important: the Lord chose us to be Christians. And we are sinners, we commit one after the other, but the Lord continues to believe in us. This is wonderful.



In effect, bringing God’s salvation to everyone was for Jesus the greatest joy, His mission, the meaning of His existence (cf. Jn 6:38), or, as He says, his food (cf. Jn 4:34). And in every word and deed with which we join with Him, in the beautiful adventure of giving love, light and joy multiply (cf. Is 9:2): not only around us, but also in us. To proclaim the Gospel, then, is not wasted time: it is being happier by helping others to be happy; it is to free ourselves by helping others to be free; it is becoming better by helping others to be better!

Let us ask ourselves then: do I pause every now and then to remember the joy that grew in me and around me when I welcomed the calling to know and bear witness to Jesus? And when I pray, do I thank the Lord for having called me to make others happy? Finally, do I wish to make someone savour, through my testimony and my joy, to make them savour how beautiful it is to love Jesus?

May the Virgin Mary help us to taste the joy of the Gospel.


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