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No one excluded from Christ's invitation, Pope reminds Sunday audience

Catholic World News - January 27, 2014

Pope Francis told his midday audience on January 27 that “no one is excluded from God's salvation; on the contrary, God prefers to begin in the periphery, with those who are last in line, to reach everyone.”

Commenting on the day’s Gospel, the Pope reminded his audience that Jesus did not begin his public ministry in Jerusalem, in the heart of the Jewish nation, but on the periphery, in a region viewed by many Jews with disdain: “Galilee of the Gentiles.” The lesson, the Pope said, is that the good news of the Gospel is intended for everyone, especially for those who live on the margins of society. “It is a joyful proclamation, destined to all those who await it, but also to those who perhaps no longer await anything, or who no longer have even the strength to seek and to ask,” he said.

The Pope exhorted the faithful not to build up barriers to keep people out, but to invite everyone into the Church—“to come out of our own comfort zone and reach out to the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel.”

Before concluding his remarks, the Pope took note that January 27 was World Leprosy Day, noting that the disease “unfortunately still affects many people, causing great suffering.” He made a special plea for peace in the Ukraine.

Finally the Pope, joined by two young people from Italian Catholic Action, released two doves from the window of his apartment in the apostolic palace, in a symbolic gesture of hope for peace. That gesture nearly went awry, as the crowd in St. Peter’s Square saw the doves attacked by two larger birds, a crow and a seagull. But after a short midair fight the doves escaped.

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