Pope: Let us pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary may intercede for more vocations for the new evangelisation

» 09/18/2011 14:27

Pope Benedict XVI expresses wonder for all the “agents” of the new evangelisation: “humble, generous workers” men and women, lay consecrated persons, individuals and families. The Gospel transforms the world “like a river irrigating an immense field ”.

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – A prayer for more religious and lay vocations at the service of the new evangelisation and admiration for all the many men and women who already live this commitment all over the world: this was Pope Benedict XVI’s reflection before the midday Angelus prayer with visitors crowded into the courtyard of his Summer Residence at Castel Gandolfo.

At the end of his reflection the Pope urged those present to “pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she may intercede for more vocations for the new evangelisation”.

The activity of “new evangelisation” has taken shape, precisely thanks to Benedict in recent years, to tackle the secularism and what may be called the “silent apostasy ” very present in the western world. “Today – the Pope said – we live in an epoch of new evangelisation. Vast horizons are opening to the Gospel, while traditionally Christian regions are called to rediscover once again the beauty of the faith”.

To face these new challenges, Benedict XVI has established a special Vatican department. The Pope recalls with wonder all the many “agents of this mission” already working in this field: “these are men and women who, like Saint Paul, can say: ‘Life to me is Christ’. Individuals, families, communities, accept to work in the vineyard of the Lord, an image we find in today’s Sunday Gospel (cfr Mt 20,1-16). Humble, generous workers who ask no other recompense but to participate in the mission of Jesus and his Church. ‘If living in this body – it is again Saint Paul who writes – means doing work which is having good results, I do not know what I should choose (Phil 1,22): whether full union with Christ after death, or service to his mystical Body here on this earth”.

To speak of new evangelisation, the Pope reflected on the Letter to the Philippians, one of this Sunday’s readings. “Paul – the pontiff explained – arrives at Philippi during his second missionary journey, he had come from the coast of Anatolia and crossed the Aegean Sea. This was first time that the Gospel reached Europe. The date was about the year 50AD, therefore twenty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus”.

The mystery of Christ who died and is risen “became one with the life of Saint Paul the Apostle, who writes this letter while detained in prison, waiting for a sentence of life or death. He affirms: “Life to me is Christ. But then death would bring me something more” (Phil 1,21). This is a new understanding of life, of human existence, which consists in communion with the living Jesus Christ; not simply a historic personage, a master of wisdom, a religious leader, but rather a man in whom God himself lives”.

“ His death and resurrection – the Pope continued – is the Good News which, starting out from Jerusalem, is destined to reach all nations and peoples and to transform from within all cultures, opening them to the fundamental truth: God is love, He became man in Jesus and with his sacrifice ransomed mankind from the slavery of evil, offering a trustworthy hope.

“Saint Paul – the Pope went on to explain – was a man who combined in himself three worlds: the Jewish world, the Greek world and the Roman world. Not by chance to him God entrusted the mission to carry the Gospel from Asia-Minor to Greece and then on to Rome, thus establishing a bridge which was to project Christianity to the far corners of the earth ”.

“Dear friends – the Pope concluded- the Gospel changed the world and continues to transform it, like a river irrigating an immense field”.