During his weekly General Audience today, Pope Francis reflected on the Church as the people of God inviting the faithful to live the “twin commandments of love for God and neighbor. The address was part of the Holy Father’s continuing catechesis on the Creed.
To be “People of God”, the Holy father said, does not mean that God belongs to a specific people, but that it is He who calls us to be part of Him.
“Jesus does not say to the Apostles and to us to form an exclusive group, an elite. Jesus says: go and make disciples of all Nations,” the Pope said.
“Saint Paul states that in the people of God, in the Church, “there is no longer Jew nor Greek … since you are all one in Christ Jesus” I would also say to those who feel far away from God and the Church, the one who is fearful or indifferent, who thinks he can no longer change: the Lord calls you to join his people and does so with great respect and love!”
The Holy Father continued his discourse saying that in order to become a member of the people of God one must be reborn, not physically but in Spirit. Drawing from the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, Pope Francis said that one must be born through water and spirit to enter the Kingdom of God.
“It is through Baptism that we are introduced to this people, through faith in Christ, a gift from God that must be nurtured and grown throughout our life.”
The Law of Love
Continuing his catechesis, the Pope emphasized the most important law for God’s people to follow: the law of love; “the love for God and for your neighbor. This love, he continued, is not one live on a sentimental level, but is one that recognizes “God as the only Lord of life and, at the same time, receives one’s neighbor as a true brother.”
“How much we still have to do in order to live this new law concretely, that of the Holy Spirit who acts in us, that of charity, of love!,” the Pope exclaimed.
“When we look in the newspapers or on television, there are so many wars between Christians: but how can this happen? In the people of God, how many wars! In the neighborhoods, in the workplace, how many wars out of envy, jealousy! Even in the family itself, how many internal wars! We must ask the Lord to make us understand this law of love.”
Concluding his catechesis, Pope Francis called on the faithful to fulfill the mission of the People of God, which is to bring hope and the salvation of God into the world. In doing so, the Pope said, Christians are called “to be the yeast that leavens the dough, salt that gives flavor and protects from corruption, light that illuminates.”
“To be Church, to be God’s People,” the Pope concluded, “according to the great design of the Father’s love, it’s like being the leaven of God in our humanity, it means announcing and bringing the salvation of God into this world of ours, which is often lost, in need of answers that encourage, that give hope, that provide new vigor in the journey.”