The theme I (Pope Francis) have chosen for this year’s World Mission Day

 Dear brothers and sisters!

The theme I have chosen for this year’s World Mission Day is taken from the Gospel parable of the wedding banquet (cf. Mt 22:1-14). After the guests refused his invitation, the king, the main character in the story, tells his servants: “Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find” (v. 9).

Reflecting on this key passage in the context of the parable and of Jesus’ own life, we can discern several important aspects of evangelization. These appear particularly timely for all of us, as missionary disciples of Christ, during this final stage of the synodal journey that, in the words of its motto, “Communion, Participation, Mission”, seeks to refocus the Church on her primary task, which is the preaching of the Gospel in today’s world.

1. “Go and invite!” Mission as a tireless going out to invite others to the Lord’s banquet In the king’s command to his servants we find two words that express the heart of the mission: the verbs “to go out” and “to invite”.

As for the first, we need to remember that the servants had previously been sent to deliver the king’s invitation to the guests (cf. vv. 3-4). Mission, we see, is a tireless going out to all men and women, in order to invite them to encounter God and enter into communion with him.

Tireless! God, great in love and rich in mercy, constantly sets out to encounter all men and women, and to call them to the happiness of his kingdom, even in the face of their indifference or refusal. Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and messenger of the Father, went out in search of the lost sheep of the people of Israel and desired to go even further, in order to reach even the most distant sheep (cf. Jn 10:16).

Both before and after his resurrection, he told his disciples, “Go!”, thus involving them in his own mission (cf. Lk 10:3; Mk 16:15). The Church, for her part, in fidelity to the mission she has received from the Lord, will continue to go to the ends of the earth, to set out over and over again, without ever growing weary or losing heart in the face of difficulties and obstacles.

Go and invite everyone to the banquet -Pope Francis L'Osservatore Romano 


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