MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS
FOR WORLD MISSION DAY 2016
Missionary Church, Witness of Mercy (Excerpts)
On this World Mission Sunday, all of us are invited to “go out” as missionary disciples, each generously offering their talents, creativity, wisdom and experience in order to bring the message of God’s tenderness and compassion to the entire human family.
Mercy finds its most noble and complete expression in the Incarnate Word. Jesus reveals the face of the Father who is rich in mercy.
When we welcome and follow Jesus by means of the Gospel and sacraments, we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, become merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful; we can learn to love as he loves us and make of our lives a free gift, a sign of his goodness.
The Church can also be defined as “mother” for those who will one day have faith in Christ. I hope, therefore, that the holy people of God will continue to exercise this maternal service of mercy, which helps those who do not yet know the Lord to encounter and love him.
Faith is God’s gift and not the result of proselytizing; rather it grows thanks to the faith and charity of evangelisers who witness to Christ. As they travel through the streets of the world, the disciples of Jesus need to have a love without limits, the same measure of love that our Lord has for all people.
All peoples and cultures have the right to receive the message of salvation which is God’s gift to every person. . The mandate of the Gospel to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20) has not ceased…
This Jubilee year marks the 90th anniversary of World Missionary Day, first approved by Pope Pius XI in 1926 and organized by the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith…To this Society be destined all the offerings collected in every diocese, parish, religious community, association and ecclesial movement throughout the world for the care of Christian communities in need and for supporting the proclamation of the Gospel even to the ends of the earth. Let us not close our hearts within our own particular concerns, but let us open them to all of humanity.