Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - Being "missionary disciples", called to spread the good news of the Gospel, means "to follow Christ, and not to charge ahead on our own". Because Jesus never sends his disciple out "without also walking at our side, and always just a little in front". For this reason, Christ's friends are not worried and are not afraid, even when they are "few and scattered", and know that "the Gospel always grows from small beginnings". These are some of the distinctive features of the missionary vocation of the disciples of Christ whom Pope Francis wanted to re-propose in the his homily in front of the young Burmese gathered inside and outside the Cathedral of Yangon during the Mass celebrated on Thursday morning, November 30. "You are good news", said the Pope to young Burmese Catholics, "because you are concrete signs of the Church’s faith in Jesus Christ, who brings us a joy and a hope that will never die".
Groups of young people from Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and China (see photo) also attended the Pope's last public appointment in Myanmar, before his departure for Bangladesh. "You young men and women of Myanmar", said the Pope, "are not afraid to believe in the good news of God’s mercy, because it has a name and a face: Jesus Christ. As messengers of this good news, you are ready to bring a word of hope to the Church, to your own Country, and to the wider world. You are ready to bring good news for your suffering brothers and sisters who need your prayers and your solidarity, but also your enthusiasm for human rights, for justice and for the growth of that “love and peace” which Jesus brings".
The distinctive features of the missionary disciple, outlined by Pope Francis, reveal that the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ is incomparable to any cultural, political or religious propaganda: "so that others are called to hear and believe in Him", said among other things the Bishop of Rome in his last homily in Yangon "need to find him in people who are authentic. People who know how to listen! That is surely what you want to be! But only the Lord can help you to be genuine, so talk to him in prayer. Learn to hear his voice, quietly speaking in the depths of your heart". The Successor of Peter also suggested young Asians to "talk also to the saints, our friends in heaven who can inspire us. Like Saint Andrew, whose feast we keep today. Andrew was a humble fisherman who became a great martyr, a witness to the love of Jesus. But before he became a martyr, he made his share of mistakes, and he needed to be patient, and to learn gradually how to be a true disciple of Christ. So do not be afraid to learn from your own mistakes! Let the saints lead you to Jesus and teach you to put your lives in his hands".
Pope Francis also urged young people not to be "afraid to ask questions that make people think" even when they have the perception of being few and far between because "the Gospel always grows from small beginnings". The appealing force of the Christian proclamation, proposed again by the Bishop of Rome, has nothing to do with propagandistic deceitfulness or wise methods, but only in the fact that Jesus "never sends us out without also walking at our side, and always just a little in front". To suggest what the paradigmatic experience of apostolic work is, to which the younger Burmese Catholics are also called, the Pope re-proposed the image of Jesus' first encounter with his disciples: "How", the Pope said "does our Lord send Saint Andrew and his brother Simon Peter in today’s Gospel? "Follow me", he tells them. That is what it means to be sent: to follow Christ, and not to charge ahead on our own!". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 30/11/2017)