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Challenging Jesus

· The Pope’s Mass at Santa Marta ·

A familiar touch of colour was seen in the assembly of the faithful at the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on Friday morning, 3 May, in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The colours of the Michelangelesque uniforms of 70 Swiss Guards stood out. Present with the guards were the Comandant Daniel Rudolf Anrig and the chaplain Mons. Alain de Raemy, who concelebrated with the Pope, together with various priests, including Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis thanked the Swiss Guards “for their love of and closeness to the Church and for their closeness to the Pope and for their love for the Pope. It is a beautiful testimony of fidelity to the Church. May the Lord bless you for this service. The Church loves you very much. And so do I”.

Citing the passage in the Old Testament when Abraham speaks with God asking him to save Sodom, the Bishop of Rome, said: “‘But what if there were 45 righteous, would you save them? And what if there were 40, 35...’. He negotiates with God”, the Holy Father said. But to do this “we must have courage”. Courage is also going to the Lord to plea for others like Moses did in the desert. And when the Church loses this courage, she enters in “a tepid state”. Tepid Christians, ones without courage, the Pope affirmed, “hurt the Church badly” because their lukewarm nature makes them close in on themselves. And this causes problems between people, they sight of the horizon. But above all this tepid state makes us lose “the courage to pray” and “the courage to announce the Gospel”.

Yet all of us “have the courage to get involved”, the Pope noted, “in the little things, in our jealousy, in our envy, in our career-oriented thought, in our selfish actions... in all of these things. But this is not good for the Church... The Church should be courageous! We must be courageous in prayer, in challenging Jesus: ‘you said this, do this for me’. But with perseverance”.

At the end of the Mass, among others, the Pope greeted Wilfried Günther, delegate administrator of Medien Dienstleistungs GmbH (München); Joachim Schnieders, finance director of the Diocese of Osnabrück; and  Benno Wagner, vice delegate administrator of the Union of Dioceses in Germany (Bonn), sponsors of the German weekly-edition of L’Osservatore Romano , with the head of the edition Ms Astrid Haas, and Gaetano Vallini, editorial assistant of the daily Italian edition.

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