At times we forget that Jesus did not act with an easy love that comes "for a cheap price," he said, adding that Jesus understands not only the physical pain of those who suffer, but also the internal pain of those who feel that they are "bad" people or that there is something essentially "wrong" with them because of their faults.
Francis closed his address telling pilgrims that it would do them well to think about how "God did not choose people who have never done wrong as the first dough to form his Church."
Rather, "the Church is a people of sinners who experience the mercy and forgiveness of God," he said, adding that St. Peter understood the truth about himself when the cock crowed, instead of his generous works, "which swelled his chest, making him feel superior to others."
The Church is not for the perfect, but for sinners, he said, adding in off-the-cuff remarks that he can think of "a lot of Catholics who think they are perfect and they despise others, (and) this is sad."
"We are all poor sinners in need of God's mercy, which has the strength to transform us and radiate hope to us every day," Pope Francis said.
And to the people who understand this, "God gives the most beautiful mission in the world, which is to tell of his love for their brothers and sisters, and the announcement of a mercy that he does not deny to anyone."
After greeting pilgrims from various countries around the world, Pope Francis closed his audience with an appeal for an end to violence in the world following an attack this week in Nigeria, in which a gunman entered a Church and opened fire, killing 11 and wounding several others.
He also pointed to an uptick in "homicidal violence" in the Central African Republic this week, directed against the Christian population.
"I wish that all forms of hatred and violence would cease, and that no more such shameful crimes be committed in places of worship, where faithful are gathered to pray," he said, and led pilgrims in praying a Hail Mary for the people of Nigeria and CAR.