Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Christmas Is A Call To Share The Good News

Candy isn't the only one thinking about evangelization this time of year.

VATICAN CITY (Zenit) - Benedict XVI says the Church's mission to evangelize is an answer to the Advent prayer "Come, Lord Jesus."

The Pope affirmed this today before praying the midday Angelus with thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"The evangelizing mission of the Church is the answer to the cry 'Come, Lord Jesus,' which runs through the whole of salvation history and that continually goes up from the lips of believers," the Holy Father said. "'Come, Lord, to transform our hearts so that justice and peace are spread throughout the world.'"

Benedict XVI dedicated his reflection to a consideration of the Dec. 14 note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on evangelization.

"The document proposes, in effect, to remind all Christians -- in a situation in which the reason for being itself of evangelization is often no longer clear -- that the welcoming itself of the glad tidings of the faith moves us to communicate the salvation received as a gift," he said. "In fact, the truth that saves life, that became flesh in Jesus, ignites in those who receive it a love of neighbor that moves our freedom to give as a gift that which has been freely received."

Heaven and earth

The Pontiff reflected on Christmas as an impetus to evangelize.

He said: "Being reached by the presence of God, who draws near to us at Christmas, is an inestimable gift, a gift that is capable of making us live in the universal embrace of the friends of God, in that network of friendship with Christ that binds heaven and earth, that directs human freedom toward its fulfillment and that, if lived in its truth, flourishes in a gratuitous love and a concern for the good of all men.

"Nothing is more beautiful, urgent and important than freely giving to men what we have freely received from God. Nothing can exempt or discharge us from this fascinating duty. The joy of Christmas of which we already have a foretaste, as we are filled with hope, moves us at the same time to proclaim to all the presence of God in our midst."

Benedict XVI concluded his meditation calling on Mary, "the incomparable model of evangelization" who "did not communicate an idea to the world but Jesus, the incarnate Word," to obtain the grace for the Church to proclaim Christ the savior.

"Every Christian and every community feels the joy of sharing with others the good news that God so loved the world to give his only begotten Son so that the world might be saved through him," he concluded. "This is the authentic meaning of Christmas, that we must always rediscover and live intensely."

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