Pope Francis dedicated his weekly catechesis to explaining Jesus' way of evangelizing. He said that Jesus was an 'unsurpassable model' for how to announce the Kingdom of God 'with gestures and words.'
During the General Audience, the parable of the lost sheep was read. Pope Francis said that this parable helps us understand what Jesus was like. Jesus himself explains that He is the good shepherd who gives His life for His sheep.
Jesus, in other words, doesn't just do something for us, but He gives us everything. He gives His life for us. His heart is a pastoral one and He shepherds us all.
The Pope explained that the word ''pastoral'' is often used to refer to the work of the Church because it follows the example of Jesus. He also pointed out that being close to people in need sometimes got Jesus into trouble. Jesus invited His disciples not to reject these people, but to follow His example.
With people who are a bit difficult for us...'It's their problem; let them deal with it.' But Jesus never said, 'Let them deal with it.' Never. He went out to be with them. He went to everyone: to the marginalized, to the sinners...He was accused of being with sinners because He brought them God's salvation.
Pope Francis explained that the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son are especially important for those who want to evangelize. He encouraged the pilgrims present to read them often. But he also warned that bringing God to others sometimes involves suffering and taking risks.
The pastoral heart suffers; the pastoral heart risks. Yes, it suffers. God suffers when someone walks away. Yet while He mourns them, He loves them even more.
But in response to that suffering, He does not shut down, in fact, He takes a risk.
The Pope said that, just as Jesus misses people who turn away from the Church, Christians should not judge them. Rather, they themselves must give the witness that God loves them—without proselytizing, something Pope Francis has defined as pagan.
The Pope prayed for the war in Ukraine and the victims of the most recent attack.
Last Saturday, a missile attack claimed the lives of many civilians, including children. It makes my own heart break for these families. The images and accounts of this tragic event are a strong plea to all consciences. One cannot remain indifferent!
Pope Francis also prayed for the victims of an attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country to which he will travel at the end of the month.