FULL TEXT - Pope Francis' Homily "A Christian always brings peace. A Christian works to bring peace to that place. Here is the distinctive sign: the Christian is the bearer of peace..." at Mass in Congolese Rite

Basilica of Saint Peter
Sunday, July 3, 2022
Bobóto [Pace] R / Bondeko [Fraternity]
Bondéko [Fraternity] R / Esengo [Joy]
I am happy, joy: the Word of God that we have heard fills us with joy. Why, brothers and sisters? Because, as Jesus says in the Gospel, "the Kingdom of God is near" (Lk 10:11). It is close: not yet reached, partly hidden, but close to us. And this closeness of God in Jesus, this closeness of God who is Jesus, is the source of our joy: we are loved and we are never left alone. But the joy that comes from the closeness of God, while giving peace, does not leave you in peace. It gives peace and does not leave us alone, a special joy. It causes a turning point in us: it fills with amazement, surprises, changes life.

And the encounter with the Lord is a continuous beginning, a continuous taking a step forward. The Lord always changes our life. This is what happens to the disciples in the Gospel: to announce God's closeness they go far, they go on mission. Because whoever welcomes Jesus feels he has to imitate him, to do as he did, that he left heaven to serve us on earth, and he goes out of himself. Therefore, if we ask ourselves what is our task in the world, what we must do as a Church in history, the answer of the Gospel is clear: the mission. Go on a mission, bring the Announcement, make it known that Jesus came from the Father.
As Christians we cannot be satisfied with living in mediocrity. And this is a disease; so many Christians, we too have the danger of living in mediocrity, dealing with our opportunities and conveniences, living for the day. No, we are missionaries of Jesus. We are all missionaries of Jesus. But you can say: “I don't know how to do it, I'm not capable!”. The Gospel still amazes us, showing us the Lord who sends disciples without waiting for them to be ready and well trained: they had not been with him for a long time, yet he sends them. They hadn't studied theology, yet he sends them. And the way he sends them is also full of surprises. We therefore catch three surprises, three things that amaze us, three missionary surprises that Jesus reserves for his disciples and reserves for each of us if we listen to him.
First surprise: the equipment. To face a mission in unknown places, it is necessary to take several things with you, certainly the essential ones. Jesus, on the other hand, does not say what to take, but what not to take: "Do not carry a purse, or sack, or sandals" (v. 4). Virtually nothing: no baggage, no security, no help. We often think that our ecclesial initiatives do not work properly because we lack structures, we lack money, we lack means: this is not true. The denial comes from Jesus himself. Brothers, sisters, we do not trust in riches and we do not fear our poverty, material and human. The more we are free and simple, small and humble, the more the Holy Spirit guides the mission and makes us protagonists of its wonders. Leave room for the Holy Spirit!
For Christ, the fundamental equipment is another: the brother. Curious this. "He sent them two by two" (v. 1), says the Gospel. Not alone, not on their own, always with the brother next to him. Never without a brother, because there is no mission without communion. There is no announcement that it works without taking care of others. So we can ask ourselves: as a Christian, do I think more about what I lack in order to live well, or do I think about getting close to my brothers, taking care of them?
We come to the second surprise of the mission: the message. It is logical to think that, in order to prepare for the announcement, the disciples must learn what to say, study the contents thoroughly, prepare convincing and well-articulated speeches. This is true. I do too. Instead Jesus gives them only two small phrases. The first seems even superfluous, since it is a greeting: "In whatever house you enter, first say: 'Peace be to this house!'" (V. 5). That is, the Lord prescribes to present oneself, in any place, as ambassadors of peace. A Christian always brings peace. A Christian works to bring peace to that place. Here is the distinctive sign: the Christian is the bearer of peace, because Christ is peace. From this we recognize if we are of him. If, on the other hand, we spread gossip and suspicion, we create divisions, we hinder communion, we put our belonging before everything, we do not act in the name of Jesus. peace. Today, dear brothers and sisters, let us pray for peace and reconciliation in your homeland, in the so wounded and exploited Democratic Republic of Congo. We join the Masses celebrated in the country according to this intention and pray that Christians may be witnesses of peace, capable of overcoming any feeling of resentment, any feeling of vengeance, overcoming the temptation that reconciliation is not possible, any unhealthy attachment to their own group that leads to despising others.
Brother, sister, peace begins with us; it begins with you and me, each one of us, each one of us's heart. If you live his peace, Jesus arrives and your family, your society changes. They change if your heart is not at war in the first place, it is not armed with resentment and anger, it is not divided, it is not double, it is not false. Putting peace and order in one's heart, defusing greed, extinguishing hatred and resentment, fleeing corruption, fleeing cheating and cunning: this is where peace begins. We would always like to meet meek, good, peaceful people, starting with our relatives and neighbors. But Jesus says: “You bring peace to your home, you begin to honor your wife and to love her with her heart, to respect and take care of the children, the elderly and the neighbors. Brother and sister, please live in peace, light up the peace and peace will dwell in your home, in your Church, in your country ”.
After the greeting of peace, all the rest of the message entrusted to the disciples is reduced to the few words with which we began and which Jesus repeats twice: «The kingdom of God is close to you! […] The kingdom of God is near ”(vv. 9.11). Announce the closeness of God, which is his style; God's style is clear: closeness, compassion and tenderness. This is God's style. Announcing God's closeness is the essential thing. Hope and conversion come from here: from believing that God is near and watching over us: he is the Father of us all, who wants us all brothers and sisters. If we live under this gaze, the world will no longer be a battlefield, but a garden of peace; history will not be a race to finish first, but a common pilgrimage. All this - let's remember it well - does not require great speeches, but few words and a lot of witness. So we can ask ourselves: does anyone who meets me see in me a witness to the peace and closeness of God or a person who is agitated, angry, intolerant, belligerent? Do I show Jesus or do I hide him in these warlike attitudes?
After the equipment and the message, the third surprise of the mission concerns our style. Jesus asks of him to go into the world "like lambs among wolves" (v. 3). The common sense of the world says the opposite: impose yourself, excel! Christ, on the other hand, requires lambs, not wolves. He doesn't mean being naive - no, please! - but to abhor every instinct of supremacy and oppression, of greed and possession. He who lives as a lamb does not attack, he is not voracious: he is in the flock, with others, and finds security in his Shepherd, not in strength or arrogance, not in the greed for money and goods that also causes so much harm to the Republic. Democratic of the Congo. The disciple of Jesus rejects violence, he does no harm to anyone - he is a peaceful one - he loves everyone. And if this seems to him a loser, he looks at his Shepherd, Jesus, the Lamb of God who thus conquered the world, on the cross. So he won the world. And I - let us ask ourselves again - alive as a lamb, like Jesus, or as a wolf, as the spirit of the world teaches, that spirit that carries on the war? That spirit that makes wars, that destroys.
May the Lord help us to be missionaries today, going in the company of brother and sister; having on his lips the peace and closeness of God; bearing in the heart the meekness and goodness of Jesus, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.
Moto azalí na matói ma koyóka [Who has ears to hear]
R / Ayóka [Intend]
Moto azalí na motém