By Christina Hermoso
With the theme “Together with young people let us bring the Gospel to all,” the Holy Father Pope Francis focuses on the role of the youth as missionaries of faith as the Roman Catholic Church observes the 92nd World Mission Sunday tomorrow.
“The Christian faith remains ever young when it is open to the mission that Christ entrusts to us. ‘Mission revitalizes faith’ in the words of Saint John Paul II, a Pope who showed such great love and concern for young people,” Pope Francis said as he encouraged the youth to “not be afraid of Christ and His Church. For there we find the treasure that fills life with joy,” he said.
Pope Francis reminded the young that every person is called to be a missionary.
“I can tell you this from my own experience: thanks to faith, I found the sure foundation of my dreams and the strength to realize them. I have seen great suffering and poverty mar the faces of so many of our brothers and sisters. And yet, for those who stand by Jesus, evil is an incentive to ever greater love. Many men and women, and many young people, have generously sacrificed themselves, even you too, young friends, by your baptism have become living members of the Church; together we have received the mission to bring the Gospel to everyone. You are at the threshold of life,” the Pontiff said in his message for World Mission Sunday.
Pope Francis reminded the young to derive inspiration from the older generation in the fulfilment of their mission.
“To grow in the grace of the faith bestowed on us by the Church’s sacraments plunges us into that great stream of witnesses who, generation after generation, enable the wisdom and experience of older persons to become testimony and encouragement for those looking to the future. And the freshness and enthusiasm of the young makes them a source of support and hope for those nearing the end of their journey. In this blend of different stages in life, the mission of the Church bridges the generations; our faith in God and our love of neighbor are a source of profound unity, at times to martyrdom, out of love for the Gospel and service to their brothers and sisters,” he said.
The Pontiff said that although the digital world has made communication faster and easier, it only becomes meaningful if a person offers the ‘gift of oneself.’
“The ends of the earth, dear young people, nowadays are quite relative and always easily navigable. The digital world – the social networks that are so pervasive and readily available – dissolves borders, eliminates distances and reduces differences. Everything appears within reach, so close and immediate. And yet lacking the sincere gift of our lives, we could well have countless contacts but never share in a true communion of life. To share in the mission to the ends of the earth demands the gift of oneself in the vocation that God, who has placed us on this earth, chooses to give us. I dare say that, for a young man or woman who wants to follow Christ, what is most essential is to seek, to discover and to persevere.”
Lastly, the Holy Father shared his message to the young people of Chile. “Let me repeat the words of encouragement that I addressed to the young people of Chile: ‘Never think that you have nothing to offer, or that nobody needs you. Many people need you. Think about it! Each of you, think in your heart: many people need me,’” he said.
Meanwhile, brown mission envelopes will be distributed in all masses in Catholic churches today to help fund programs in mission territories such as providing assistance to churches for evangelization, ecclesial and social developments, education, as well as in the rebuilding of areas devastated by war or natural disasters. Collections have also been made in all Catholic schools all over the country.
The observance of World Mission Sunday was ordered by Pope Pius XI on April 14, 1926 as a reminder to the faithful of their “Christian vocation to be missionaries and of the urgent call to be part of the universal mission of the Church.”