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Share with others the joy of encountering Christ, Pope tells jubilee pilgrims

February 01, 2016

On January 30, Pope Francis held the first of a series of special monthly Saturday audiences for pilgrims who have come to Rome for the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy.

“Today I wish to speak to you about the close relationship between mercy and mission,” the Pope told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, in the words of the official English-language synthesis of his remarks.

“St. John Paul II reminded us that the Church lives an authentic life when she professes and proclaims mercy, and leads people to the source of mercy,” the Pope continued, as he reflected on Jn. 1:41-42, in which St. Andrew told St. Peter about Christ. “As Christians, we are called to be missionaries of the Gospel.”

Pope Francis added:

Just as we naturally seek to share with others the beautiful moments of our lives, we are called also and especially to share the joy of encountering Jesus Christ. This was the experience of the disciples from the very beginning. After meeting the Lord, Andrew went directly to his brother Peter, and Philip sought out Nathanael, to tell them whom they had met.

To encounter Jesus is to experience his love, which transforms us and compels us, in turn, to share this love. We are called to be “bearers of Christ”! For the mercy we receive from the Father is not given solely for our benefit, but for the good of all, by transforming us into instruments, missionaries of mercy.

By being such missionaries, we come to experience more deeply the gift of mercy in our own lives. May we take seriously our call to be Christians, to live as believers, so that the Gospel may touch the hearts of all people and open them to the gift of God’s love.

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