Pope in Mass in Bulgaria: God calls, surprises and loves everyone

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Pope Francis had a warm welcome to his first public Mass in Bulgaria, greeting the faithful and various pilgrims along the way. He entered Knyaz Alexander I Square, in the center of Sofia to celebrate Sunday Mass.

The pope reflected that the apostles were tempted to go back to the way their lives were before the resurrection, as fishermen. Pope Francis called the faithful to live as disciples, remembering three things: God calls, surprises and loves. 

“Brothers and sisters, the Lord never tires of calling us. His is the power of a love that overturns every expectation and is always ready to start anew. In Jesus, God always offers us another chance. He calls us day-by-day to deepen our love for Him and to be revived by his eternal newness. Every morning, he comes to find us where we are.”

The pope explained that similarly in people today, the weight of suffering, disappointment, and of betrayal had blocked the disciples' hearts. Yet, God doesn't wait for Christians to be sinless or unlimited, He instead creates perfect situations from human disappointments.

“Do not fear, then. The Lord loves your life, even when you are afraid to look at is and take it in hand. Do not be afraid of becoming the saints that this land greatly needs. Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy. On the contrary, you and all the sons and daughters of this land will become what the Father had in mind when he created you. Called, surprised and sent for love!”

Pope Francis concluded his homily mentioning a part of his recent post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus vivit. He said Christians are invited to testify to Christ's love which inspires and directs each person to serve the poor, be charitable and resist consumerism and superficial individualism.

At the end of the Mass, the Bulgarian Greek Catholic Bishop of Sofia gave the pope an image of the Blessed Mother. Likewise, Pope Francis gave the bishop a chalice as a sign of gratitude. 

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