QUITO – Pope Francis on Tuesday defended the need for the Catholic Church to preach the Gospel and convert people to the faith, saying “That is our revolution” during the huge Mass he celebrated at Bicentennial Park in the Ecuadorian capital, one of the stops on his three-nation South American tour.
“That is preaching the Gospel, that is our revolution because our faith is always revolutionary, that is our deepest and most constant cry,” said Francis before hundreds of thousands of people in Quito.
The name of the site where the Mass was celebrated also motivated Francis to recall “the cry for the independence of Hispanic America.”
The pontiff, who on Tuesday wore a chasuble with typical local embroidery, said that preaching the Word of God could unite a world “lacerated by wars and violence.”
His homily was full of passages from his apostolic exhortation entitled “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel).
“It would be superficial to think that division and hatred affect only tensions between countries or social groups. In reality, they are a manifestation of that diffuse individualism that separates us and confronts us, of the wound of sin in people’s hearts,” he said.
“Preaching the Gospel can be a vehicle for the unity of aspirations, feelings, hopes and even utopian visions,” the Argentine pontiff said.
He also noted the need “to fight for inclusion at all levels, avoiding selfishness, promoting communication and dialogue, encouraging cooperation.”
The pope warned that “preaching the Gospel does not consist of proselytizing” and that many make only a “caricature” of doing so.
He said that preaching the Gospel “is attracting with our testimony those who are cut off” and the “poorest of the most defenseless so that they do not lose their dignity despite the fact that they are beaten down every day.”
Francis said that unity “moves us away from the temptation of suggestions closer to dictatorships, ideologies or types of sectarianism.”
“How lovely it would be if everyone could admire how we care for one another! How we mutually give one another encouragement and how we walk with each other!” he said.