Benin city (Agenzia Fides) - It is not enough to organize a Congress on the topic of evangelization if this does not have an impact on the life of all those who have participated, so that each one of us may evangelize through one’s words and with one’s own life: stressed Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) on 26 October, during the final celebration of the National Mission Congress of Nigeria, held in Benin city from 22 to 26 October (see Fides, 24/10/2019; 26/10/2019).
Thanking the Lord for this opportunity, the Archbishop reiterated in his homily that "the center of evangelization is Christ, the real Christ, able to attract even those who are most distant, to give life, to make our lives fruitful" and that "every pastoral activity, even this Congress, should help us to fix our gaze on Jesus Christ, so as to obtain true life". Therefore, inspired by the liturgy of the day, he focused on four fundamental points of the mission: the proclamation of faith, history, conversion, God's mercy.
Taking inspiration from the first reading, in which St. Paul writes to the Romans: "There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8: 1) the Archbishop stressed that the good news that God wants to communicate is the salvation given to each one through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ. God loves us and is present in us with His Spirit: "We are called to constantly invoke the Spirit of God in prayer, the Spirit that gives life and strength to our mission and encourages us to proclaim the truth of the Gospel, which is the love of God for each man and His desire to save".
Thus, commenting on the Gospel, Mgr. Dal Toso emphasized that Christ evangelizes taking inspiration from the concrete history of the people who listen, from facts that seem absurd and unjust, but that can acquire meaning in Him. He therefore urged us to let ourselves be questioned by what happens in our lives and in that of others. "In this way, even life’s daily occurrences become a way in which God speaks to us", he stressed. "As Church, we are called to discern God’s voice and read history not just with human criteria but especially in the light of God’s word - he continued -. And there we can discover where the Lord wants to lead us, as a Church, as a society, as a single faithful".
The events surrounding life, even the most painful ones, do not call for judgement, but discernment. In fact, they are a call to conversion. It is an authentically Christian attitude of transcending our personal way of seeing things, of interpreting history from a different perspective that allows us to come out of ourselves and meet the gaze of Christ, who has conquered all evil. "It is precisely by contemplating His love that we are transformed".
A Christian is called to conversion every day. "Through conversion we meet a God who is merciful towards us. We too, today, are here in this celebration to come to know and experience the mercy of God, so that those who meet us may discover in us the mercy of God". Recalling the theme of this Extraordinary Missionary Month, "Baptized and sent: the Church of Christ on mission in the world", the Archbishop then urged: "We are all baptized and sent as Church to be missionaries in the world, to be witnesses, to preach that the word of salvation that Christ has made resound in our hearts has the power to constantly convert us to Him, to give us the experience of mercy and thus change our lives". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 28/10/2019)