It was quite an entrance to the streets of Philadelphia. Surrounded by security agents from the Vatican and the U.S government, Pope Francis waved and blessed the crowds just moments before celebrating the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Up to one million people lined the streets near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, to attend the Pope's last Mass in the U.S.
In his homily, Pope Francis highlighted that God's love is for everyone, and is not limited to a specific group.
"To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not 'part of our group' who are not 'like us' is a dangerous temptation. Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith!”
Faith grows with practice and is framed by love, he explained. The Pope then emphasized that marriage between a man and a woman and the family that comes from that union, reflects God's love.
"It invites all those who want to share the prophecy of the covenant of a man and a woman, which generates life and reveals God.”
Families, said the Pope are a domestic church, where faith becomes life and life grows in faith. One should never underestimate the power of every day gestures of love and kindness, from a mother, father, grandparent or sibling.
"Like the warm supper we look forward to at night, the early lunch awaiting someone who gets up early to go to work. Homely gestures. Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug after we return from a hard day’s work.”
Towards the end of his homily, he asked the crowd to reflect on whether they yell or speak at home. This he explained, can be an accurate meter of the love they show in their families and in their every day life.
Archbishop Chaput thanked the Pope for his visit to Philadelphia. A few moments later, it was announced that the next World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin, Ireland in 2018.