Bangalore (Agenzia Fides) - "We cannot proclaim the Word of God if we do not first receive it with an open heart. For this reason, even for us today, the first commandment is, “Listen Israel”, as we heard in the Gospel. “Listen”, dear assembly gathered here today in Bangalore, listen to what God wants to tell you. All of our gatherings, consultations, and deliberations are useless if they are not preceded by our listening to the Word of God, if first we do not discover the Will of God, if we first do not orient ourselves to the call He addresses to His Church". This is what His Exc. Mgr. Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies recommended during the Mass he presided at the Symposium dedicated to the New Evangelization, which takes place in Bangalore from 7 to 9 March (see Fides 6/3/2018; 8/3/2018) organized by the Pontifical Mission Societies.
The Archbishop emphasized that "the primacy of the mission consists in listening to the Word of God, because the Church does not evangelize in and of itself, that is, by her own strength. Neither does she evangelize to share her own message. No: the Church evangelizes because she has first listened to what God has to say, which is, in turn, the message that she proclaims". God revealed to us what he had to tell us in Christ, so "we must look to the person of Christ every time we evangelize. In fact, even today we are asked to make an act of faith and say with St. Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”. According to tradition, the Apostle Thomas brought this profession of faith here to India, and once again today we desire to make it our own, to be able to be authentic evangelizers. Our mission will bear fruit in the measure in which it echoes the great “Word” that God addressed to us in Christ". Msgr. Dal Toso underlined the need "to reiterate the centrality of Christ’s message, both for our personal and for our ecclesial life".
Refering to the Gospel of the day, he recalled that "the commandment to love God and to love our neighbor as oneself is not human but divine, and therefore a divine gaze is necessary to be able to fulfill it", as only in Christ "we can learn what it truly means to love".
In the concluding part of the homily, the Archbishop recalled "how much need there is for this love, especially in the solitude of the modern man, in the infinite misery of countless persons, in the daily sufferings of so many of our brothers and sisters who have no bread, who have no family, who have no hope. And we know that this need is so great that only a divine love will be able to satisfy it. Human love is not enough...Without the reciprocal experience of the love of God, there cannot be true love for oneself and for one’s neighbor, and without the tangible experience of my love towards another, the love of God is not manifested".
In this regard, Msgr Dal Toso cited the example of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta: "Could we explain her love without reference to Christ? No. Could we explain her experience of faith without reference to her testimony of charity? No. That is why the Gospel that we have heard today introduces us into the heart of our belonging to Christ, into the very core of our baptism: to look to Christ and to listen to Him, in order to be able to love as He has loved". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 9/3/2018)