Pope Francis: Stop building fences around the Gospel

(CNA/EWTN) Pope Francis was quick to remind crowds at his weekly audience that the Gospel preached throughout the Holy Land, and eventually throughout the world, did not begin in Jerusalem, the religious, social, and political center” of the Holy Land.  Instead it began in the outlying areas, the borderland of Galilee.  His point was that we cannot build fences around the Gospel to keep it safe.  The Gospel is to be shared without borders.  Read more from CNA below or at this link.

(CNA) In his Angelus message delivered in Rome on Sunday, Pope Francis exhorted the crowds to proclaim their faith throughout the world.

In today’s day and age, “we can be frightened and give into the temptation to build fences to be safer, more secure. But Jesus teaches us that the good news is not reserved for a part of humanity, and to communicate it to everyone,” said the Pope on Jan. 26.

The Gospel message “is a happy announcement destined for those who await it, but also for the many who perhaps do not await anything more and do not even have the strength to look and to ask.”

The Pontiff reflected on Sunday’s Gospel reading in which Jesus calls the disciples, beginning his work of ministry in the region of Galilee, which is “a border land, a region of transit where they encountered persons of different races, cultures and religions.”

Jesus’ mission “did not originate in Jerusalem, that is, from the religious, social, and political center, but from a peripheral area, disdained by the more observant Jews, because of the presence of diverse populations in that region,” noted the Pontiff.

“From this point of view, Galilee resembles the world of today: the simultaneous presence of diverse cultures, the need for comparison and for meeting.  We too are immersed every day in a ‘Galilee of the people,’” he explained.

Jesus’ decision to begin from the “periphery” shows that “no one is excluded” from God’s desire to save.

Rather, we see that “God prefers to start from the periphery, from the outermost, to reach everyone.”

Moreover, noted Pope Francis, Jesus chooses apostles from men “who could be called ‘low-profile.’”

“He does not address the school of the scribes and of the doctors of the law, but humble and simple people, who are preparing diligently for the coming of God’s Kingdom.”

The response of those simple people chosen by Christ acts as an example for all Christians today.

“Jesus goes to call them where they work, on the lakeshore: they are fishermen. He calls them, and they follow him immediately. They leave their nets and go with him. Their lives become an extraordinary and fascinating adventure,” emphasized the Pontiff.

“Dear friends, the Lord also calls us today!” he exclaimed. “Each one you must realize that the Lord is watching you: if you hear Him saying follow me, you must have courage and go with Him. The Lord will never disappoint you.”

After leading the crowds in the traditional Marian prayer, Pope Francis went on to pray for many tragic situations in the modern day Galilee of the world.