Pope Francis to laity: ‘It is time for you’ to share the Gospel

Vatican City, Feb 14, 2020 / 09:47 am (CNA).- Laypeople have a mandate to spread the Gospel in their concrete circumstances through the witness of their lives, Pope Francis said in a message sent Friday to Catholics attending a congress on laity in Spain.

“The living Word of God needs to be preached with passion and joy through Christian witness, to be able to tear down even the highest walls that isolate and exclude,” the pope wrote in the message, delivered on Feb. 14. “It is time for you, men and women engaged in the world of culture, politics, industry… that with their way of life are able to bring the novelty and joy of the Gospel wherever they are.”

Francis encouraged lay people to live their vocation “immersed in the world” and “with God and with the Church” to listen to the people around them.He also asked lay Catholics to be careful of the temptations of clericalism, competitiveness, stiffness, negativity, and “ecclesial careerism.” These temptations “suffocate the specificity of [the laity’s] call to holiness in today’s world,” he added.

The pope emphasized that “we are part of a Christian community. We are not one more group, nor an NGO, but the family of God summoned around the same Lord.” “Remembering this leads us to deepen our faith every day: a gift that is lived in liturgical action, in the common prayer of the whole Church, and which must be announced.” He said “the missionary mandate is always current.” Pope Francis sent his message on the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the patron saints of Europe along with St. Benedict.