Angelus message from July 7, 2013.
“Jesus is not an isolated missionary”, Pope Francis said; “he does not want to fulfill his mission alone, but involves his disciples. Today we see that, in addition to the Twelve Apostles, He calls seventy-two others, and sends them into the villages, two by two, to announce that the Kingdom of God is near. This is very beautiful! Jesus does not want to act alone, He has come to bring to the world the love of God and wants to spread that love with communion and fraternity. For this reason, he immediately forms a community of disciples, a missionary community, and trains them for the mission”.
“Beware, however: the purpose is not to socialize, to spend time together – no, the purpose is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and this is urgent! There is no time to waste in small talk, no need to wait for the consent of all – it is necessary to go out and proclaim. The peace of Christ is to be brought to everyone, and if some do not welcome it, then you go on. Healing is to be brought to the sick, as God wishes to heal man from all evil. How many missionaries do this! They sow life, health, comfort in the peripheries of the world.”
“These seventy-two disciples, whom Jesus sent ahead of him, who are they? Whom do they represent? If the Twelve are the Apostles, and therefore also represent the Bishops, their successors, these may represent seventy-two other ordained ministers – priests and deacons – but in a wider sense we can think of other ministries in the Church, catechists and lay faithful who engage in parish missions, those who work with the sick, with the various forms of discomfort and alienation, but always as missionaries of the Gospel, with the urgency of the Kingdom that is at hand. Everyone must become missionaries, everyone can hear Jesus’ call and go on to proclaim His kingdom!
“The Gospel says that those seventy-two returned from their mission full of joy, because they had experienced the power of the Name of Christ against evil. … We should not boast as if we were the protagonists: the protagonist is the Lord and His grace. Our joy is only this: in being His disciples, His friends. … Do not be afraid of being joyful! … It is the joy that the Lord gives us when we let Him enter into our lives and invite us to go forth into the peripheries of life and announce the Gospel, with joy and courage!”