Vatican City, Oct 16, 2013 / 03:47 am
In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis continued his reflections on the Creed, drawing attention to the Church's apostolic nature and Jesus' invitation to spread the Gospel.
"Dear Brothers and Sisters: In the Creed, we profess in faith that the Church is 'apostolic,'" the Pope told the thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square for his Oct. 16 general audience.
The Holy Father stressed that the apostolic character of the Church has remained unbroken throughout history. Beginning with Peter and the Twelve Apostles, the chain of those who transmit the faith has continued until today, and will continue until the end of time, he urged.
Pope Francis lauded the Church's meticulous care for and transmission of Christ's teaching in its entirety, rather than in bits and pieces – highlighting also the first apostles' faithfulness to Jesus' commandment to go and baptize all nations.
"The Church is apostolic because Jesus founded her upon the apostles whom he chose and sent forth to continue his work," he noted.
"Thus Saint Paul compares the Church to a temple which has the apostles as its foundation and Christ as its cornerstone," he said, reflecting on the apostle's letter to the Ephesians.
"The Church is also apostolic because she preserves and hands down the fullness of Christ's teaching and the means of salvation which he instituted."
Pope Francis concluded his reflections by highlighting a third aspect of the Church's apostolic nature in that "she accomplishes in history the mission which Christ entrusted to the apostles: making disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them his commands."
The pontiff then extended his greetings to all of the pilgrims present, who included many from England, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Israel, Ghana, Nigeria, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada and the United States.
"May we come to appreciate and love the Church as the place where we encounter the Risen Lord," urged the Pope, "who sends us forth as his missionaries, inviting all whom we meet to know the truth of the Gospel, the joy of faith and the promise of eternal life proclaimed by the apostles."