Pope Francis at the General Audience on February 15  (Vatican Media/Catholic Press Photo)

Called to proclaim Christ

"The proclamation does not begin from us, but from the beauty of what we have received for free, without merit: meeting Jesus, knowing Him, discovering that we are loved and saved." Pope Francis' General Audience (Rome, February 15).
Pope Francis

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

We continue our catechesis; the theme we have chosen is “The passion of evangelizing, apostolic zeal.” Because evangelizing is not saying, ‘Look, blah, blah, blah’ and nothing more. There is a passion that involves everything: the mind, the heart, the hands, going out… everything, the whole person is involved with this proclamation of the Gospel, and for this reason we talk about the passion for evangelizing. After having seen in Jesus the model and the master of proclamation, we turn today to the first disciples, to what the disciples did. The Gospel says that Jesus “appointed twelve, to be with Him, and to be sent out to preach” (Mk 3:14), two things: to be with him and to send them to preach. There is one aspect that seems contradictory: He called them to be with Him and to go and preach. One would say: either one or the other, either stay or go. But no: for Jesus there is no going without staying and there is no staying without going. It is not easy to understand this, but that’s the way it is. Let us try to understand a little bit what is the sense in which Jesus says these things.

First of all, there is no going without staying: before sending the disciples on mission, Christ—the Gospel says—“calls them to Himself” (cf. Mt 10:1). The proclamation is born from the encounter with the Lord; every Christian activity, especially the mission, begins from there. Not from what is learnt in an academy. No, no! It begins from the encounter with the Lord. Witnessing Him, in fact, means radiating Him; but, if we do not receive His light, we will be extinguished; if we do not spend time with Him, we will bear ourselves instead of Him—I am bringing myself and not Him—and it will all be in vain. So only the person who remains with Him can bring the Gospel of Jesus. Someone who does not remain with Him cannot bear the Gospel. He will bring ideas, but not the Gospel. Equally, however, there is no staying without going. In fact, following Christ is not an inward looking fact: without proclamation, without service, without mission, the relationship with Jesus does not grow. We note that in the Gospel the Lord sends the disciples before having completed their preparation: shortly after having called them, He is already sending them! This means that the mission experience is part of Christian formation. Let us then recall these two constitutive moments for every disciple: staying with Jesus and going forth, sent by Jesus [...]

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