(Vatican News) At his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis highlights the universal nature of Christian proclamation, emphasizing that encountering Jesus and sharing the Gospel is a call for all, irrespective of boundaries or limitations.
Opening his catechesis at his General Audience on 22 November, the Holy Father recalled the theme from last week, during which he, along with the faithful, reflected on Christian proclamation being “joy”.
The second aspect of the Christian proclamation, and the focus today, the Pope noted, is that “it is for everyone”.
The 'humanizing power' of the Gospel
“When we truly meet the Lord Jesus, the wonder of this encounter pervades our life and demands to be taken beyond ourselves”, the Pope said. He added that Jesus’ desire for this is for everyone as his Gospel contains “a humanizing power and fulfilment of life that is destined for every man and woman”.
Pope Francis emphasized this point by recalling a passage in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, in which he wrote that everyone has “a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone."
The 'Universal destination' of the Gospel
"Brothers, sisters", the Pope continued, “let us feel that we are at the service of the universal destination of the Gospel; and let us distinguish ourselves for our capacity to come out of ourselves, to overcome every limit”.
Jesus and the Canaanite
He stressed that Jesus’ journey is an everlasting lesson for everyone. The Pope then recalled a Passage from Matthew, in which a Canaanite woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter. Initially hesitant, Jesus says that His mission is for Israelites, not foreigners. The woman persists, showing strong faith by saying that even dogs get crumbs. Impressed, Jesus grants her request, recognizing her unwavering belief.
“This meeting has something unique about it” noted the Pope. “Not only does someone make Jesus change His mind - and a woman at that, 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”, he explained.
A "pact" with God
The Holy Father then, in bringing his discourse to a close, went on to note that each person who is called on by the Lord is chosen so that they may reach others. That is the “pact” that has been made. “All the Lord’s friends have experienced the beauty, but also the responsibility and the burden of being 'chosen' by him”, added the Pope.
Being called by God is not about elevating oneself, the Pope concluded, but rather about becoming free and courageous instruments of inclusive love.