Mercy, mission go together, pope says

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

mission have a close relationship that calls all Christians to be missionaries
who share the joy of the Gospel without trying to force others to believe, Pope
Francis said.

The joy that comes from
conveying God’s love and mercy is “the concrete sign that we have met
Jesus,” the pope said during his first jubilee audience Jan. 30. However, he added, “this does not mean
proselytizing. This is making a gift: ‘I am giving you what gives me

An estimated 30,000 people gathered
in St. Peter’s Square for the jubilee audience, an event that will be held one
Saturday each month throughout the Holy Year of Mercy.

In his talk, the pope said
the Holy Year is a reminder for Christians to never tire of feeling the need
for God’s forgiveness “so that
when we are weak his closeness makes us strong and allows us to live our faith
with greater joy.”

are called to be missionaries of the Gospel like the first disciples, feeling
the need to share the good news they have received. “We feel within us
that we cannot hold back the joy that has been given to us and we want to
spread it,” the pope said. “The joy that arises is what pushes us to
communicate it.”

experience of the first disciples called by Jesus, he said, is an experience of
love that “transforms us and compels us” to share its strength with

some way, we can say that from the day of our baptism each one of us was given
an additional name to what our moms and dads had given us and this name is ‘Christopher,’
which means ‘Christ-bearer.’ Every Christian is a bearer of Christ,” he

mercy is not just a “private consolation” but a catalyst that
transforms Christians into “missionaries of mercy” to those in need. The
pope called on the faithful to take their calling seriously and to live their
lives as believers “because only then can the Gospel touch the hearts of
all people and open them to the grace of love.”

concluding the jubilee audience, Pope Francis led the crowd in praying for a woman
named Elvira who, along with her husband, worked at the Domus Sanctae Marthae,
the pope’s residence. The long-time employee passed away Jan. 29 after a long
period of sickness, the pope said.

his residence is like a family, the pope told the crowd that he was sad at her

invite you today to do two works of mercy: to pray for the deceased and console
the afflicted,” he said. “I
invite you to pray a Hail Mary for Elvira’s eternal peace and eternal joy, and pray
that the Lord may console her husband and her children.”

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