Pope Francis asked the tens of thousands of Catholics gathered in Saint Peter’s Square to overcome divisions and the fear of evangelizing by trusting that “God is stronger.”
“Just as I said, it is enough to open a newspaper and we see that around us there is the presence of evil, the Devil is at work,” he said at the June 12 general audience.
“But I would like to say in a loud voice God is stronger, Do you believe this, that God is stronger?” he asked the thousands of pilgrims.
He asked several times for them to repeat with him, “God is stronger!”
“And you know why he is stronger?” he asked. “Because he is the Lord, the only Lord, God is stronger!”
Pope Francis delivered his reflection on “the people of God” as part of a series on the Church as depicted in the documents of the Second Vatican Council.
The Pope called on the crowd to make their lives “a light of Christ” to “bring the light of the Gospel to the whole world.”
“Let’s think of the Olympic Stadium in Rome or that of San Lorenzo in Buenos Aires,” he said.
“If on a dark night one person lights up a lamp, you can barely see it, but if each of over 70,000 spectators switches on his own light, the whole stadium lights up,” he remarked.
Pope Francis also urged the crowd not be close themselves off from the world around them.
“Jesus does not tell the Apostles and us to form an exclusive group, an elite group, Jesus says, ‘go and make disciples of all nations,’” he underscored.
“The Church’s doors must be open so that all may come and that we can go out of those doors and proclaim the Gospel,” he added.
The Pope also asked Catholics to be “yeast that ferments the dough, the salt that gives flavor and preserves from decay, and the light that brightens.”
The pontiff explained that the term means “God does not really belong to any people.”
He noted that the law of “the people of God” is “the law of love, love for God and love for our neighbor according to the new commandment that the Lord left us.”
“It is recognizing God as the only Lord of life and, at the same time, accepting the other as a true brother, overcoming divisions, rivalry, misunderstandings, selfishness,” said Pope Francis.
But according to him, the Church still has “far to go” to be able to live the law of love and we must ask God “to help us understand it.”
“When we see in the many wars between Christians in the newspapers or on TV, how can the people of God understand this?” he asked.
“Within the people of God there are so many wars and in neighborhoods, in workplaces, so many wars due to envy, jealousy!” the Pope remarked.
The pontiff underscored that even within the same family, there are “so many internal wars.”
He also spent time explaining how people become a part of “the people of God.” It is not through physical birth, he said, but through “a new birth.”
“It is through Baptism that we are introduced to this people, through faith in Christ, the gift of God which must be nurtured and tended to throughout our whole life,” the Pope taught.
The pontiff advised the pilgrims to ask themselves how they tend to the faith they have received and how they can make it grow.
The Pope then explained that the ultimate goal is full communion with the Lord.
“It’s to enter into his divine life where we will live the joy of his love without measure, that full joy,” he said.