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Live Christianity without compromise

Written by Pope John Paul II on Monday, 01 January 2001. Posted in Homilies, Pope John Paul II

Here are excerpts from the homily given by Pope John Paul II on November 26, 2000, the Solemnity of Christ the King, on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Apostolate of the Laity:

With the Council, the hour of the laity truly struck, and many lay faithful, men and women, more clearly understood their Christian vocation, which by its very nature is a vocation to the apostolate... In a special way, the Council Fathers entrusted you with the mission "of seeking the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will" (Lumen Gentium, n. 31).

Since then a lively season of associations has blossomed, in which, along with traditional groups, new movements, sodalities and communities have arisen (cf. Christifideles laici, n. 29). Today more than ever, dear brothers and sisters, your apostolate is indispensable, if the Gospel is to be the light, salt and leaven of a new humanity.

However, what does this mission entail? What does being a Christian mean today, here and now?

Being a Christian has never been easy, nor is it easy today. Following Christ demands the courage of radical choices, which often means going against the stream. "We are Christ!", St Augustine exclaimed. The martyrs and witnesses of faith yesterday and today, including many lay faithful, show that, if necessary, we must not hesitate to give even our lives for Jesus Christ..

In this regard, the Jubilee invites everyone to a serious examination of conscience and lasting spiritual renewal for ever more effective missionary activity. Here. I would like to return to what my venerable predecessor, Pope. Paul VI, wrote in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi 25 years ago towards the end of the Holy Year of 1975: "Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses" (n. 41).

Dear lay faithful, as witnesses to Christ you are especially called to bring the light of the Gospel to the vital nerve centres of society. Holiness continues to be the greatest challenge for believers.

Dear friends, do not be afraid to take up this challenge: be holy men and women! Do not forget that the fruits of the apostolate depend on the depth of spiritual life, on the intensity of prayer, on continual formation and on sincere adherence to the Church's directives. Today I repeat to you, as I did to the young people during the recent World Youth Day, that if you are what you should be - that is, if you live Christianity without compromise - you will set the world ablaze.

You face tasks and goals which may seem to exceed human forces. Do not lose heart! "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion" (Phil 1:6).

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