Nagasaki (Agenzia Fides) - Missionaries who introduced the Gospel in Japan did not endanger their lives "just to announce Christ as an extraordinary wise man or guru of moral life, or as a promoter of social welfare". They were ready to sacrifice their own existence only because they wanted to make known "the mystery of Jesus, the Son of God, who offers his life to redeem man from his existential solitude, from the poverty of sin and the slavery that humiliate him". This is what Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said during his homily celebrated on Tuesday evening 19 September in the Cathedral of Nagasaki on the third day of his visit in Japan. "After the Gospel was brought to Japan decades ago" the Prefect of Propaganda Fide said in his homily, "today we see a danger, that is "to relativize "both the mission of the Church in bringing the Gospel and the same person of Christ. For example, one prefers to talk about Christ as a wise person who shows the right rule of life, or a good person who helped the poor and marginalized of the society of his age. If we want to see Christ's figure as a human philanthropist, the risk would be to also perceive the mission of the Church as a great humanitarian organization of the world".
Charitable works and the spread of moral teachings - the Cardinal said - are indispensable expressions of the missionary vocation of the Church, but cannot be separated from their source. "If we reflect on the history of more than four centuries after Francesco Saverio's arrival in Kagoshima - added the Cardinal, referring to the first proclamation of the Gospel on Japanese land - we understand that for this great missionary to announce the name of Jesus in Japan, responded to the deep desire to bring the news of God's love and compassion in this land, because the Japanese people, were lacking of the revelation of God". Even today - Cardinal Filoni added - "We are therefore called to a great mission towards this poor, suffering, humiliated humanity destroyed by hatred, envy, abortion, by the most atrocious wars, the violence against the poor, by drugs, success and money". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 19/9/2017)