Every Christian is called to be a missionary, sharing the good news of salvation in Christ and making disciples for him, not for oneself or one’s clique of like-minded believers, Pope Francis said.
“What instructions does the Lord give us for going forth to others? Only one, and it’s very simple: Make disciples. But, be careful: his disciples, not our own,” the pope said on 20th October as he celebrated World Mission Sunday.
Dozens of participants from the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon joined the pope for the Mass in St Peter’s Basilica; many indigenous wore their native headdresses, had their faces painted or dressed in traditional clothes.
Before reciting the Angelus prayer after Mass, Pope Francis recalled the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s apostolic letter on mission, ‘Maximum Illud’. The letter, Pope Francis said, was motivated by his predecessor’s conviction of “the need to evangelically relaunch the Church’s mission in the world so that it would be purified of any colonial incrustation and freed from the influences of the expansionist policies of European nations.”
Today, he said, the letter calls Catholics “to overcome the temptation of every self-referential closure and every form of pastoral pessimism in order to open us to the joyful newness of the Gospel.”
Picture: Pope Francis holds his pastoral staff as he celebrates a Mass marking World Mission Day in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 20th October 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).