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The Attraction of the Gospel

Today’s evangelizing work of the Church is by attraction rather than by proselytizing. By appearing as people who live the joy and beauty of their faith, Christians will attract others to experience that new way of life brought about by Jesus Christ.

Considering the marvels that God has done throughout the history of salvation, reading the signs of the times and inspired by the magisterium of Pope Francis, the missionary Church has launched a process of reflection to re-think the nature, the goals and the spheres of Mission.

God bestowed great dignity upon His children and enabled them to live accordingly. Continuously He offers Himself and His gifts of fullness of life to humankind, but too many people have put God in a corner, rejecting His gifts of love, of beauty, of salvation. The mission of the Church is a mission of attraction for all people to become aware of God and His gifts of salvation.

Unfortunately, the following three tragedies afflict many people both in society and in the Church: 
The “do it yourself” morality, which defines as good only whatever is convenient to an individual person, or group. In this kind of morality, you pick what you like, the common good is out of the question and objective truth is bent to suit utilitarian interests and convenience;
The heavy legalistic morality, made up of merciless mandates, with a view which makes people aggressive, sad and ill at ease. How many times have I thanked God for being merciful and going beyond justice? In fact, if God were a punishing God, where would humankind be now?
Life without any moral indication at all: the absolute truth of God’s Word is ridiculed, many idols are worshipped, perversion is endorsed, the poor are exploited, the needy are neglected, the unborn are killed, many children are not cared for, power is abused, the air is polluted with profanity and pornography.

These points describe what has been happening all over the world: spiritual equilibrium has been lost and values have been inverted. These points have led me to pray that all may be converted and live according to God’s plan of salvation and according to the dignity He has bestowed upon His children, upon all human beings. 

I ask now, “What is the missionary Church called to do to help people become aware that without God there is no life and that, without Him, we would go from bad to worse?” I am convinced that first of all, we are called to allow the Word of God to convert us to Jesus the Savior who continues to tell us:

“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world… Your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16). 

In Mission, the commandments of God must be proclaimed with the conviction that they are of basic value in our journey of life, and that the Beatitudes must be lived through a life of service to all.

Since his election to the papacy, Pope Francis captivated the sympathy and the attention not only of the Catholic flock, but of all people of good will. Thanks to his words and actions, we have been savoring again the “joy of the Gospel,” the “sweet joy of evangelizing,” the primacy of mercy over the law and the social concern for “the least of the brethren.”

 Missionaries are hoping that all may come out of depression, timidity and a self-centered existence, out into the fresh air of dialogue, simplicity of life, social and ecumenical interaction. Is this naivety or is it a matter of beautiful attitudes reflecting God’s wisdom? 


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