Rome (Agenzia Fides) - God chooses one in order "to love everyone". Christianity "is not a little group of first-class, chosen people". And the calling of the Lord cannot be experienced as a privilege to be lived selfishly: and those who have received the gift of faith are called to proclaim that "Christ was born, died, and rose again for all. No one excluded". Thus Pope Francis re-proposed the dynamic of predilection with which Christ himself carries out his work of salvation in history, and recalled the universal horizon of the mission entrusted to the Church, called to bear witness to the world that "the Christian proclamation is a joy for everyone". He did so during today's general Audience, Wednesday, November 22, continuing the cycle of catechesis dedicated to the passion for proclaiming the Gospel and apostolic zeal.
"When we truly meet the Lord Jesus," the Pontiff said, addressing the multitude gathered in St. Peter's Square, "the amazement of this encounter pervades our lives and asks to be taken beyond us. This is what He desires, that His Gospel be for everyone." Pope Francis emphasized this point by recalling a passage in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium "Everyone has a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows but "by attraction". Following Jesus' desire, Christians - continued the Pontiff, quoting the Gospel of Luke - "meet on the parvis more than in the sacristy, and go to the streets and lanes of the city". Christians must be “extrovert”, and this character of theirs comes from Jesus, who make his presence in the world a continuous journey, aimed at reaching out to everyone, even learning from some of his encounters". In this sense, the Gospel reports Jesus’ surprising encounter with a foreign woman, a Canaanite who begs him to cure her sick daughter, recounted in the Gospel of Matthew. At first – the Gospel says - Jesus refuses, saying that he was sent only “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” and that “it is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs". But the woman, with the insistence typical of the simple, replies that “even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table”. Jesus "is struck" by the Canaanite's faith and meets her request. "This encounter" commented Pope Francis "has something unique about it. Not only does someone make Jesus change his mind, and a woman, foreign and a pagan, but the Lord himself finds confirmation that his preaching should not be limited to the people to whom he belongs, but open to all."
The Bible – continued the Pontiff - "shows us that when God calls a person and makes a pact with some of them, the criterion is always this: elect someone to reach others". All the Lord’s friends "have experienced the beauty, but also the responsibility and the burden of being “chosen” by Him. And everyone has felt discouragement in the face of their own weaknesses or the loss of their certainties. But perhaps the greatest temptation is that of considering the calling received as a privilege". The calling of Christ - the Successor of Peter insisted "is not a privilege, ever. We cannot say that we are privileged compared to others. The calling is for a service. God chooses one in order to love everyone, to reach everyone. And this dynamic also helps to "prevent the temptation of identifying Christianity with a culture, with an ethnicity, with a system". In this way, though, it loses its truly Catholic nature, or rather for everyone, universal. Christianity - concluded Pope Francis "is not a little group of first-class, chosen people. Let us not forget: God chooses some to love all. This horizon of universality. The Gospel is not only for me, it is for everyone; let us not forget this. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 22/11/2023)