The Vatican News Services reported on the Pope’s message on the Feast of the Visitation(May 31).  Below is the message he gave and it has great relevance for those in the ministry of catechesis.  There is much to ponder here regarding our call as witnesses of the Gospel message in a world “longing for Jesus”.

Pope Benedict XVI:  “We recognize the clearest example and the truest meaning of our path as believers and the path of the Church itself. By its nature, the Church is called to proclaim the Gospel everywhere and at all times, to spread the faith to every man and woman and to every culture”.

“Mary remained with Elizabeth for three months to offer her loving nearness, concrete assistance, and all the everyday services that were needed. In this way, Elizabeth becomes the symbol of the many aged and ill, even more, of all those who need assistance and love. How many of these persons there are today in our families, in our communities, in our cities! And Mary — who called herself ‘the handmaid of the Lord’ — made herself the servant of mankind. More specifically, she served the Lord whom she encountered in her brothers and sisters”.

“It should be noted that ‘Mary’s charity’ is not limited to concrete assistance but achieves its highest form in bestowing Jesus himself, in ‘making him present'”, the Pope said. “This is the heart and the height of the evangelical mission. This is the true meaning and the most genuine purpose of every missionary path: to offer human beings the living and personal Gospel, which is the Lord Jesus himself”.

“Jesus”, he continued, “is the true and only treasure that we have to give humanity. Today’s men and women have a profound longing for Him, including when it seems they are ignoring or rejecting Him. The society we live in, Europe, the entire world has great need of Him”.

The Holy Father concluded by underlining that “we have been entrusted with this extraordinary responsibility. Let us live it with joy and devotion so that ours might truly be a civilization in which truth, justice, liberty, and love reign, the fundamental and irreplaceable pillars of a truly shared life that is ordered and peaceful. Let us live this responsibility remaining steadfast in listening to the Word of God, in communal life, in breaking of the bread, and in our prayers. May this be the grace that together this evening we ask of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary”.

This summer may we consider the following:

1) Share Jesus with 3 unlikely people you encounter.

2) Email parents and/or your students and encourage them to live like Jesus so they can bring him wherever they may find themselves this summer.

3) Pray that those who are Catholics may faithfully go to the source – Sunday Mass where they receive the one the world longs for.  Only then can we truly radiate Jesus to others.