Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Before reciting the midday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, Sunday, October 23, the Holy Father stressed the celebration of World Mission Sunday, commenting on the second reading of the Liturgy, which presented the exhortation of St. Paul to Timothy, in which he thinks back to his life as an apostle wholly consecrated to the mission (cf. 2 Tm 4,6-8.16-18).
"In Saint Paul’s autobiographical account - the Pope said -, the Church reflects itself, especially today, World Mission Sunday, whose theme is the 'Missionary Church, a witness of mercy'. The Christian community found in Paul its model in the belief that the presence of the Lord makes the apostolic work and the work of evangelisation effective. The experience of the Apostle to the Gentiles reminds us that we must engage in pastoral and missionary activities, on the one hand, as if the results depended on our efforts, with the spirit of sacrifice of the athlete who does not stop even in the face of defeats; on the other, however, knowing that the true success of our mission is a gift of Grace: it is the Holy Spirit that makes the Church's mission effective in the world.
Today is a time of mission and a time of courage! Courage to strengthen the tottering steps, to get a taste of working for the Gospel, to regain confidence in the strength that mission brings. It is a time of courage, even though courage is no guarantee of success. We are asked to have the courage to fight, not necessarily to win; to proclaim, not necessarily to convert. We are asked to have the courage to be alternative to the world without ever becoming argumentative or aggressive. We are asked to have the courage to be open to everyone without ever belittling the absoluteness and uniqueness of Christ, the one Saviour of all. We are asked to have courage to stand up to unbelief without becoming arrogant. We are also asked to have the courage today of the Gospel publican who humbly dares not even lift his eyes heavenward, but beat his breast, saying: "O God, be merciful to me a sinner". Today is a time of courage! Today it takes courage!"
Mary, model of the ‘outgoing’ Church, and docile to the Holy Spirit, help us all, by virtue of our baptism, be missionary disciples to bring the message of salvation to the whole human family". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 24/10/2016)