VATICAN—Pope Francis used his Angelus on July 15 to focus again on the idea of missionary discipleship, taking the day’s Gospel as his starting point. In the Gospel reading, Jesus, after calling the disciples individually by name, goes on to send them out ahead of Him “two-by-two.” This, the pope said, “is a kind of ‘internship’” in anticipation of their mission following the Resurrection.
Pope Francis said missionary discipleship, the missionary “style,” can be summarized in two points: mission has a centre; and it has a face.
This Gospel passage, Pope Francis said, applies to us too — and not only to priests, but to all Christians, who are called “to bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus in every aspect of life.”
For us, too, he added, this mission “is only authentic” when it is focused on Jesus. This is “the mission of the Church, inseparably united to the Lord.” No Christian proclaims the Gospel on their own initiative, “but only when sent by the Church, which has received her mandate from Christ Himself.”
“The second characteristic of the missionary style,” Pope Francis said, is that the mission has a face, an aspect that it presents to the world. This face is presented through a “poverty of means.” The disciples were ordered to “take nothing for the journey but a walking stick.” Pope Francis said this means Jesus wants His disciples to be free, depending only on “the love of Him who sends them, strengthened only by His Word which they proclaim,” and stressing that missionary disciples are not “all-powerful managers, or irreplaceable functionaries, or divas on tour.”
By Christopher Wells/Vatican News