This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:25 in St. Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.
Before going to St. Peter’s Square, the Pope greeted the sick gathered in Paul VI Hall.
Continuing with the series of Catecheses on the Acts of the Apostles, in his address in Italian the Pope focused his meditation on the theme: “They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” — life in the primitive community between the love of God and the love of brethren (Biblical passage: From the Acts of the Apostles 2:42.44-45).
After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father addressed special greetings to groups of faithful present.
The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.
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The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
The fruit of Pentecost, the powerful effusion of the Spirit of God on the first Christian community, was such that many people felt their heart pierced by the happy announcement — the kerygma — of salvation in Christ and they adhered to Him freely, converting, receiving Baptism in His Name and receiving in turn the gift of the Holy Spirit. About three thousand people formed part of that fraternity, which is the habitat of believers and is the ecclesial ferment of the work of evangelization. The warmth of the faith of these brothers and sisters in Christ made of their life the scenario of the work of God, who manifests Himself with prodigies and signs through the Apostles. The extraordinary becomes ordinary and the everyday becomes the area of the manifestation of Christ alive.
The evangelist Luke recounts it, showing us the Church of Jerusalem as the paradigm of every Christian community, as the icon of a fraternity that fascinates and that is not mythologized or even minimized. The account of the Acts enables us to look between the walls of the house where the first Christians gathered as family of God, area of the koinonia, namely, of the communion of love between brothers and sisters in Christ.
It can be seen that they lived in a very precise way: they were “devoted to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42). The Christian listen assiduously to the didache, namely, the apostolic teaching; they practice a high quality of interpersonal relations also through the communion of spiritual and material goods; they remember the Lord through the “breaking of bread,” namely, the Eucharist, and converse with God in prayer. These are a Christian’s attitudes, the four traits of a good Christian.
As opposed to human society, where the tendency is to look after one’s own interests, regardless or even to the detriment of others, the community of believers banishes individualism to foster sharing and solidarity. There is no place for egoism in a Christian’s soul: if your heart is egoistic you’re not a Christian, you are a worldly <sort>, who only seek your favour, your profit. And Luke tells us that the believers are together (Cf. Acts 2:44). Proximity and unity are the style of believers: neighbours, concerned for one another, who do not speak badly of the other, no, <but> help, come close.
The grace of Baptism reveals, therefore, the profound bond between brothers in Christ that are called to share, to identify themselves with others and to give “as any had need” (Acts 2:45), that is, generosity, alms, concern for the other, to visit the sick, to visit those that are in need, who are in need of consolation.
And this fraternity, precisely because it chooses the way of communion and of attention to the needy of this fraternity, which is the Church, can live a true and genuine liturgical life. Luke says: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people” (Acts 2:46-47).
Finally, the account of the Acts reminds us that the Lord guarantees the growth of the community (Cf. 2:47): the perseverance of believers in genuine alliance with God and with brethren becomes an attractive force that fascinates and conquers many (Cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 14), a principle thanks to which lives the believing community of all times.
Let us pray to the Holy Spirit so that He makes of our communities places in which to receive and practice the new life, the works of solidarity and of communion, places in which the liturgies are an encounter with God, which becomes communion with brothers and sisters, places that are open doors onto the heavenly Jerusalem.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims.
This Audience, the last before the summer pause, is done in two groups: you who are in the Square and a group of sick who are in Paul VI Hall and follow on a giant screen, because it’s so hot and it’s better that the sick be sheltered. Let us greet the group of the sick!
I’m happy to receive the participants in the General Chapters: of the Daughters of the Church; of the Missionary Sisters of the Incarnation; of the Sisters of the Child Jesus and of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition. I greet all those taking part in the Congress organized by the Congregation for the Clergy, for the Rectors and Formators; and the course for Formators, organized by the International Union of Superiors General.
I greet the faithful of Genoa, accompanied by the Auxiliary Bishop, Monsignor Nicolo Anselmi; the parish groups, in particular that of Recanati; and the Ad Limina Petri Association of Ranica.
A particular thought goes to young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.
Next Friday we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. I invite all to look at that Heart and to imitate the truest sentiments. Pray for all Priests and for my Petrine Ministry, so that every pastoral action is marked by the love that Christ has for every man.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
I greet the sick in Paul VI Hall.
You came here today because it’s too hot outside, too hot . . . It’s more tranquil here and you can see the Audience well on the screen. There will be two communities: that of the Square and you, together. You participate in the Audience. No doubt you will be well setup to be able to see the screen well. And now, I give you the Blessing — to all.
Pray for me. And good day![Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]