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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

General Audience: The Church is the Body of Christ!

Vatican City, 22 October 2014 (VIS) -This morning, the Holy Father gave a general audience in St. Peter’s Square. An hour earlier he received the athletes of the Bayern Munich Football Club in the Paul VI Audience Hall.

At the general audience, after traversing the square in his Popemobile greeting the faithful present, he continued his series of catechesis on the Church.Today’s mediation focused on the Church as the Body of Christ. Pope Francis defined the Church as “a masterpiece of the Spirit that instills in all the new life of the risen Christ, placing us side by side to serve and support one another, thus making of us one body, built in communion and love”. He emphasized, however, that it is not just “a body built in the Spirit – the Church is the Body of Christ. This is not just a figure of speech. It is what we truly are! It is the great gift that we received on the day of our Baptism!”
The Pope noted that it would be good to remind ourselves more often of what we are and of what the Lord Jesus has made of us. “We are His body,” he stated, “a body that nothing and nobody can snatch away from him and that He fills with all His passion and love just as a husband loves his wife”. He also noted that divisions, jealousies, misunderstandings, and marginalizations “are not good because, instead of building up and growing the Church as the Body of Christ, it is fractured into many pieces and dismembered”.

He recalled some advice that the Apostle Paul gave to the Corinthians, who at the time were facing the same difficulties. It is apt advice for us today: “We should not be jealous but, in our communities, we should appreciate the gifts and qualities of our brothers and sisters. We should draw near to and participate in the suffering of the poor and the most needy. We should express our gratitude to all. Finally,” he concluded, “we should not consider ourselves as superior to others but should, in charity, think of ourselves as members of one another, living and giving of ourselves to the benefit of all.”

At the end of the catechism, Francis greeted the pilgrims and gathered faithful in different languages. He especially addressed the employees of Meridiana airlines, based in the Tempio-Ampurias Diocese of Sardinia, Italy, who are experiencing a very difficult moment of uncertainty regarding their jobs. “I hope,” he said, “that you can reach an equitable solution that takes into account, above all, the dignity of the human person and the essential needs of the families. I send this appeal to all those responsible: please, no family without a job!”

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