Originally at: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-our-faith-is-always-revolutionary
“Evangelization can be a way to unite our hopes, concerns, ideals and even utopian visions.” These were the words of Pope Francis during Mass at Quito’s Bicentennial Park today.
Over 1.2 million people attended the event, an unprecedented number given the fact that is roughly 1.6 million. The park commemorates the first cries of independence that began against Spanish rule in Latin America in 1809.
Prior to the Mass, the Holy Father held a private meeting with the Bishops of Ecuador. He then made his way to the park, where enthusiastic crowds greeted him with cheers and throwing flower petals.
In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on the theme of unity and evangelization. He told the faithful that he wished to see the cries for independence and freedom from exploitation that Bicentennial Park represents “under the beautiful challenge of evangelization.
“We evangelize not with grand words, or complicated concepts, but with the joy of the Gospel, which fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. For those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness,”
Jesus call that all “may be one”, he continued, was raised in a context of mission in the world. A world, he noted, that Christ loved dearly despite experiencing “the worst of the world” in his own flesh.
“We too encounter daily a world torn apart by wars and violence. It would be superficial to think that division and hatred only concern struggles between countries or groups in society. In reality, they are a manifestation of that ‘widespread individualism’ which divides us and sets us against one another, that legacy of sin lurking in the heart of human beings, which causes so much suffering in society and all of creation,” he said.
The 78 year old Pontiff said that despite this, Christians are also called to take up Christ’s call and accept the grace and duty of unity through evangelization. However, the Pope explained that unity does not mean uniformity or something that is fashioned with set conditions, which he described as a “religiosity of the elite.” Rather, unity is a concrete proposal by Jesus to love and care for one’s neighbor as explained in the parable of the Samaritan.
“The desire for unity involves the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, the conviction that we have an immense treasure to share, one which grows stronger from being shared, and becomes ever more sensitive to the needs of others,” he said.
“Our unity can hardly shine forth if spiritual worldliness makes us feud among ourselves in a futile quest for power, prestige, pleasure or economic security. And this effects the poorest, the most excluded, the most defenseless, of those who…do not lose their dignity but those who strike them every day.”
However, the Holy Father stressed that evangelization is not achieved by proselytism, which he referred to as “a caricature of evangelization”. Instead, it is achieved by attracting through giving witness and humbly drawing near those who feel distant from God and the Church.
As in the book of Revelations, he recalled, Christ stands at the door and knocks, waiting patiently. Jesus, he said, “doesn’t force you, He doesn’t break the lock, He simply rings the doorbell, He gently knocks, and He waits. This is our God!”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to give witness through fraternal communion and give one’s self; an action, he said, that establishes intrapersonal relationships with others.
“When we give of ourselves, we discover our true identity as children of God in the image of the Father and, like him, givers of life; we discover that we are brothers and sisters of Jesus, to whom we bear witness. This is what it means to evangelize; this is our revolution – because our faith is always revolutionary –, this is our deepest and most enduring cry.”