Sunday, 7 July 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today's Gospel page (see Lk 10.1-12.17-20) presents Jesus who sends seventy-two disciples on a mission, in addition to the twelve apostles. The number seventy two probably indicates all nations. In fact in the book of Genesis seventy-two different nations are mentioned (see 10,1-32). Thus this sending prefigures the mission of the Church to proclaim the Gospel to all peoples. Jesus said to those disciples: "The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few! Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest "(v. 2).
This request of Jesus is always valid. We must always pray to the "master of the harvest", that is God the Father, so that he sends workers to work in his field which is the world. And each of us must do it with an open heart, with a missionary attitude; our prayer should not be limited only to our needs, our needs: a prayer is truly Christian if it also has a universal dimension.
In sending the seventy-two disciples, Jesus gives them precise instructions, which express the characteristics of the mission. The first - we have already seen -: pray; the second: go; and then: do not carry bag or bag ...; say, "Peace to this house" ... stay in that house ... Don't go from one house to another; heal the sick and tell them: "the Kingdom of God is near you"; and, if they do not welcome you, go out into the squares and take leave (see verses 2-10). These imperatives show that the mission is based on prayer; that it is itinerant: it is not still, it is itinerant; which requires detachment and poverty; which brings peace and healing, signs of the nearness of the Kingdom of God; that it is not proselytism but announcement and testimony; and which also requires frankness and evangelical freedom to leave, highlighting the responsibility of having rejected the message of salvation, but without condemnations and curses.
If lived in these terms, the mission of the Church will be characterized by joy. And how does this step end? "The seventy-two returned full of joy" (v. 17). This is not an ephemeral joy that comes from the success of the mission; on the contrary, it is a joy rooted in the promise that - says Jesus - "your names are written in heaven" (v. 20). With this expression he means inner joy, the indestructible joy that comes from the awareness of being called by God to follow his Son. That is the joy of being his disciples. Today, for example, each of us, here in the Piazza, can think of the name he received on the day of Baptism: that name is "written in heaven", in the heart of God the Father. And it is the joy of this gift that makes every disciple a missionary, one who walks in the company of the Lord Jesus, who learns from him to spend himself without reserve for others, free from himself and from his own possessions.
Together let us invoke the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, so that in every place she may support the mission of the disciples of Christ; the mission to announce to everyone that God loves us, wants to save us and calls us to be part of his Kingdom.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Even if a few days have passed, I invite you to pray for the poor defenseless people killed or injured by the air attack that hit a migrant detention center in Libya. The international community cannot tolerate such serious facts. I pray for the victims: the God of peace welcomes the dead to himself and supports the wounded. I hope that the humanitarian corridors for the most needy migrants will be organized in an extended and concerted way. I also remember all the victims of the massacres that recently took place in Afghanistan, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Let's pray together. [moment of silence]
I address a cordial greeting to all of you, Romans and pilgrims! I greet the students of the "Scuola Sant’Ignazio" in Cleveland (United States), the young people of Basiasco and Mairago, and the priests participating in the course for formators, promoted by the "Sacerdos" Institute in Rome. I greet the Eritrean community in Rome: dear brothers and sisters, I pray for your people! And I greet the many Poles who are here in front!
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye.