Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - "My time in Malawi affords me the opportunity to draw near to the local Church and to meet with her Bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and lay faithful. I thank you each of you for your tireless efforts in building up the Church and society here in Malawi, and I would like to convey to all of you the personal greeting and Apostolic Blessing of His Holiness Pope Francis". These are the words pronounced by Cardinal Fernando Filoni in his homily during the Mass he presided in the Cathedral of the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe, yesterday afternoon, Thursday, November 3, the first moment of his pastoral visit to the African country (see Fides 03/11/2016).
Recalling the Gospel of the day, which reported the two parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin (Lc.15,1-10), the Cardinal explained that "through these stories, Jesus helps us to understand God’s attitude toward sinners... Jesus shows us the face of a God who is willing to go to the ends of the earth and back in search of those who are lost, those who are distanced from the Lord". The awareness of God's merciful love, he stressed, should bring about "joy and missionary zeal". "Jesus in today's Gospel says: 'There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance'. This means that every time the Gospel is proclaimed and the work of evangelization is carried out there is a celebration going on in heaven. This is cause for us to rejoice, since heaven itself is rejoicing".
"The joy of God’s Mercy should motivate us to want to share what we have received - urged the Cardinal Prefect -. A true Christian has a missionary zeal motivating him to labor such that no one should be lost. We are called by Jesus to be joyfully zealous in going out in search of those in need of God’s love and mercy". At the end of his homily, Cardinal Filoni encouraged everyone "to carry on the good work of evangelization with ever-renewed fervor and dedication". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 04/11/2016)