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Jesus does not exclude anyone

· The Pope's Mass at Santa Marta ·

Jesus did not exclude anyone. He built bridges, not walls. His message of salvation is for everyone. This morning, Wednesday 8 May, during the Mass in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis focused on the attitude of the good evangelizer: open to all, ready to listen to all, without exclusions.

The example given by the Pope is that of the Apostle Paul in the Areopagus (Acts 17:15-22, 18-1) proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ among the worshipers of idols. According to the Pope, the way in which he does this is important: “He does not say: 'Idolaters! go to hell ... '”, but “tries to get to their hearts”; he does not condemn from the beginning, but seeks dialogue. “Paul is a Pope, a builder of bridges. He does not want to become a builder of walls”. Building bridges for the Gospel, “this is the attitude of Paul in Athens: build a bridge to their hearts, and then take a step further and proclaim Jesus Christ”. Paul followed the attitude of Jesus, who spoke to everyone, “he heard the Samaritan woman... went to lunch with the Pharisees, with sinners, with the publicans, with the doctors of the law. Jesus heard everyone and when he said a word of condemnation, it was at the end, when there was nothing to do”. But Paul is also “aware that he must evangelize, not proselytize”. The Church “does not grow by proselytizing, Benedict XVI has told us, but grows by attraction, through the witness, and through preaching”. Finally, “Paul does so because he was sure, sure of Jesus Christ. He had no doubt of his Lord”.

Paul teaches what the path of evangelization should be, to follow with courage. And “when the Church loses this apostolic courage, it becomes a Church that does not move. Orderly, nice, very nice, but not fertile, because it has lost the courage to go to the outskirts, where there are so many people who are victims of idolatry, worldliness, and weak thought”. In order to curb the fear of making a mistake, you have to think that you can rise and continue to move forward. “Those who do not walk for fear of making a mistake – concluded Pope Francis – make the most serious mistake”.

Among the concelebrants this morning were Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio and Archbishop Oscar Rizzato. Among those present were a group of collaborators from the general services of the Governorate, and the judges and employees of the Papal Court, accompanied by their president Giuseppe Dalla Torre.

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