Pope at General Audience: Hospitality will make Christians grow in unity
At the General Audience, Pope Francis focused on the theme of this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: “They treated us with kindness.”
He said the people of Malta from the Acts of the Apostles made God's love manifest through concrete acts of kindness for St. Paul and his companions, who had been shipwrecked.
The pope called Christians to follow this example of hospitality in order to help those most in need and grow in unity.
SUMMARY OF CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Today’s catechesis occurs in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, whose theme this year – on hospitality – was prepared by the Christian communities of Malta and Gozo. The theme is based on Saint Paul’s dramatic experience of being shipwrecked at Malta, and the welcome he and his companions received there. Indeed, in contrast to the sea’s violence, the survivors received “unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2), reflecting God’s love for them. This hospitality was then repaid when Paul healed many sick people, thus revealing God’s merciful love.
Hospitality is an important ecumenical virtue, which is open to listening to the experience that other Christians have of God. When we welcome Christians of a different tradition we reveal God’s love to them and receive the gifts that the Holy Spirit has sown in them. In this way, we Christians are challenged to overcome our divisions and to show Christ’s love more effectively to others, especially the many migrants who, like Paul, face danger at sea, as they flee from peril. Working together like this will make us both better disciples of the Lord and more united as the People of God.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from Belgium, Korea, Australia and the United States of America. In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I offer a special greeting to the students from the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. I also greet the priests of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education of the Pontifical North American College.
Upon all of you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!