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“He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted.” (Isai-ah 61:1)
Jesus daily invites us into his mission of compassion towards the world and this, again, can be a difficult task. What this means is that we must look at everyone with the eyes of Jesus and see them as he sees them.
Often our eyes are clouded by prejudices, racism or a revulsion to anything “other.” These sinful tendencies are temptations propagated by the world and we must pray daily never to fall prey to them. The Gospel message of love and compassion was never meant to be limited to a certain class of individuals. God came to save all who were lost, regardless of what social status they may have.
It is our duty as Christians to “heal the brokenhearted” and this often entails going to the “peripheries” of society. Pope Francis never ceases to emphasize the need to do this difficult action. This past year he spoke to the Jesuits and reminded them of this mission from the heart of Saint Ignatius.
“To walk together — free and obedient — moving toward the margins of society where no one else reaches, ‘under the gaze of Jesus and looking to the horizon which is the ever greater glory of God, who ceaselessly surprises us.’ As Saint Ignatius reminds us, a Jesuit is called ‘to think and to live in any part of the world where there is a greater need of service to God and assistance for souls’ [Con., 304]. The fact is that ‘the Society must feel at home anyplace in the world."
Yet, this mission to go to the “margins of society” is not something reserved for Jesuits, but is the fundamental mission of all Christians. Indeed, Pope Francis even signed a joint declaration with the Archbishop of Canterbury affirming this call of the Gospel.
“We are united in the conviction that ‘the ends of the earth’ today, is not only a geographical term, but a summons to take the saving message of the Gospel particularly to those on the margins and the peripheries of our societies.”
This is a message reflected in the intention for this month, a call to unite ourselves to other Christians in the pursuit to meet the many challenges of humanity.
Let us go forward every day aware of our mission of compassion, even going out to the margins of society to bring Christ’s love.
- Philip Kosloski
Writer and Content Manager
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA)