During his weekly Angelus address to the faithful gathered at St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis contemplated on the Gospel’s message of announcing the Gospel with joy. Jesus, the Pope told the faithful is not an isolated missionary that doesn’t wish to carry out his mission alone but involves not only his disciples, but another 72 disciples to announce the Gospel.
“This is so beautiful!” the Pope exclaimed. “Jesus does not want to work alone, he has come to bring God’s love into the world and wants to spread it in communion, in fraternity. Because of this he immediately forms a community of disciples, which is a missionary community. Immediately he teaches them to be missionaries, to go out.”
The Holy Father stressed that the urgency to announce the Gospel not only existed then, it also exists today. There is no time to waste in small talk or for everyone to agree with the message but to go and announce the Good News.
“The peace of Christ is brought to everyone, and if they do not accept it, we go forward just the same,” the Holy Father said. “Healing is brought to the sick because God wants to heal man of every evil. There are so many missionaries that do this! They sow life, health, comfort at the margins of the world. How beautiful this is! They do not live for themselves but to go out and do good! There are so many young people in the piazza today: think about this, ask yourselves: Is Jesus asking me to go out, to leave myself behind and do good? I ask you, young people, you young men and women: Are you brave enough for this, do you have the courage to listen to Jesus’ voice? It is beautiful to missionaries! … Ah, you’re great! I like this!”
The Pope went onto say that the 72 disciples do not only represent those ordained in the priestly ministry or the diaconate, but also catechist, lay ministers and those who work with the sick and marginalized of society.
Recounting the joy felt by the 72 upon returning from announcing the Gospel, the Holy Father stressed Jesus’ words regarding their experience of the power of Christ names against evil.
“Do not rejoice, however, because the demons submit to you; rejoice instead because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Do not boast as if we were the protagonists: there is only one protagonist: it is the Lord!, the Pope exclaimed. “The Lord’s grace is the protagonist! He is the only protagonist! And this alone is our joy: to be his disciples, his friends. May Our Lady help us to be good workers for the Gospel.”
After the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father commented on the recently released encyclical “Lumen fidei” (The Light of Faith), which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI began and Pope Francis finished writing.
“It follows [Pope Benedict’s] encyclicals on charity and hope. I took up this great labor and concluded it,” the Pope said. “I offer it with joy to the whole People of God: in fact, today we all need to go to the essence of the Christian faith, to study it and bring it to bear on contemporary issues. But I think that this encyclical, at least in some parts, can be useful also to those who seek God and the meaning of life. I place it in the hands of Mary, the perfect icon of faith, that it may bear that fruit that the Lord wants.
Concluding his address, the Holy Father also greeted the youth who will be leaving soon for Rio de Janeiro. “Dear young people, I too am preparing! Let us walk together toward this great feast of faith; may Our Lady accompany us and we’ll see each other down there!”