Mission must start from the Eucharist and lead to the Eucharist
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - “The call to mission is not directed exclusively to a restricted group of members of the Church; rather, it is an imperative addressed to all the baptized, an essential element of their vocation.”
In his address, the Pope praised the efforts made by the Bishops in these regions “to bring the Good News of Jesus to all corners of the Amazon jungle” and addressing certain critique regarding “violation of religious freedom” with claims of “imposing” the truth of the Gospel, he mentioned what Paul VI affirmed in Evangelii Nuntiandi (no. 80): “It would, of course, be a mistake to impose anything on the conscience of our brothers and sisters, but propounding knowledge of the truth of the Gospel and the salvation of Jesus Christ, with absolute clarity and full respect for the free choice of conscience (hence without coercion or dishonest persuasion), ... far from being an attack on religious freedom, is a homage to that freedom, which can choose a route that even non-believers consider noble and edifying. ... To present Christ and His kingdom in a respectful way, more than a right, is a duty of evangelization. It is likewise the right of his fellow men to receive from him the proclamation of the Good News of salvation.”
“The will to preach the Gospel is born from a heart that has fallen in love with Jesus, that ardently desires that more people can receive the invitation to attend the wedding feast of the Son of God." One of the central commitments of the Fifth Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Aparecida in 2007, was precisely to "raise awareness among Christians of the need to become disciples and missionaries," and that has enhanced the missionary dimension of Church, called to the Continental Mission.
The Holy Father mentioned Blessed José de Anchieta, "who made sure that the Word of God was spread among Indians and Portuguese alike," as an example to help local churches to find the most appropriate means for the training of missionary disciples in the spirit of the Conference of Aparecida. In his speech to the Brazilian Bishops, Benedict XVI continued to focus on the mission: "The mission cannot be limited to a mere search for new ways to make the Church more attractive and capable of overcoming the competition of other religious groups or relativist ideologies. The Church does not work for herself. She is at the service of Jesus Christ and exists to ensure the Good News is accessible to everyone. The Church is catholic precisely because she invites all human beings to experience new life in Christ. Mission, then, is neither more nor less than the natural consequence of the very essence of the Church, a service of the ministry of unity which Christ wished to achieve in His crucified body.”
The Pope warned of the possible weakening of the missionary spirit, which "may not be due, so much, to the limitations and weaknesses of the external forms of traditional missionary activity, as to having forgotten that the mission must be nourished by a deeper core. This core is the Eucharist. As the presence of the human and divine love of Jesus Christ, the Eucharist always implies a continual shift from Jesus to the people who are his members, who will themselves become Eucharist. In summary, to be truly effective, the Continental Mission must start from the Eucharist and lead to the Eucharist." (SL) (Agenzia Fides 10/5/2010)
Full text of the speech of the Holy Father, in Portuguese
Posted by Association of Pauline Cooperators