“Many cultures but the same Gospel. Many peoples, the same Jesus Christ”, Pope Francis said in an improvised speech to members of the Neocatechumenal Way, with whom he met on Monday morning, 27 June, in the Paul VI Hall. The Pope greeted 430 families in the movement who were beginning their missionary work at the end of the Tenth World Meeting of Families. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s discourse.
We have heard Jesus’ mission: “Go, bear witness, preach the Gospel”. And from that day on the apostles, the disciples, all the people went forth with the same strength of that which Jesus had given them: it is the strength that comes from the Spirit. “Go and preach … Baptise…”.
But we know that, once we have baptised, the community that is born from that baptism is free, it is a new Church; and we must allow it to grow, help it to grow in its own ways, with its own culture… This is the history of evangelization. All equal in terms of faith: I believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit: the Son who was incarnate, died and rose again for us, the Spirit who helps us and makes us grow: the same faith. But everyone according to their own culture or the culture of the place where the faith was preached.
And this work, this multicultural richness of the Gospel, which is born from the preaching of Jesus Christ and becomes culture, is in a sense the history of the Church: many cultures but the same Gospel. Many peoples, the same Jesus Christ. Many [forms of] good will, the same Spirit. And we are called to this: to go forth with the strength of the Spirit, carrying the Gospel in the heart and hands. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, not mine: it is Jesus Christ’s, which adapts to various cultures but is the same. The faith grows, the faith is inculturated, but the faith is always the same.
This missionary spirit, that is, of letting oneself be sent, is an inspiration for you all. I thank you for this, and I ask of you docility to the Spirit who sends you, docility and obedience to Jesus Christ in his Church. Everything in the Church, nothing outside the Church. This is the spirituality that must always accompany us: preaching Jesus Christ with the strength of the Spirit in the Church and with the Church. And the one who is the head, let’s say, of the various Churches is the bishop: always move forward with the bishop, always. He is the head of the Church, in this country, in this state…
Go forward. Be brave! Thank you for your generosity. Do not forget the gaze of Jesus, who sent each one of you to preach and to obey the Church. Many thanks!