Pope Francis reminded the faithful on July 15, 2018, that evangelization isn’t just the task of priests, but the role of all the baptized.
His remarks came before praying the noonday Angelus with the pilgrims gather in St. Peter’s Square. And he based his comments on the gospel for the day from Mark, which describes Jesus’ commissioning of the disciples and sending them our “two by two”.
“This evangelical episode applies also to us, and not only to priests but to all the baptized, called to witness, in the different environments of life, the Gospel of Christ,” the Holy Father insisted. “And for us also, this mission is only authentic if it begins from its immutable center, which is Jesus.”
Pope Francis explained that the gospel “pauses on the missionary’s style, which we can summarize in two points: the mission has a center; the mission has a face.”
The first point – center – means that the missionary disciple has his center of reference in the person of Jesus. The Pope explained: “The Apostles have nothing of their own to proclaim or their own capacities to demonstrate, but they speak and act in as much as ‘sent,’ in as much as messengers of Jesus.
The Pope continued with the second point – face- by describing it as a “poverty of means”. Indeed, Jesus sent the disciples forth with very little and expected they would suffer poverty in many ways.
“The Master wants them free and light, without supports and without favors, certain only of the love of Him who sends them, strong only from His word, which they go to proclaim,” Pope Francis said. “The staff and the sandals are the pilgrims’ supplies because such are the messengers of the Kingdom of God, not omnipotent managers; not immovable functionaries; not divas on tour.”
And the Pope pointed out that the disciples would always be well-received. In fact, their message might not even be heard.
“This, too, is poverty: the experience of failure. Jesus’ experience, who was rejected and crucified, prefigures the destiny of His messenger. And it’s only if we are united to Him, dead and risen, that we succeed in finding the courage of evangelization.”