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Pope Francis greets the faithful in St. Peter's Square as he arrives for the General Audience Pope Francis greets the faithful in St. Peter's Square as he arrives for the General Audience  (AFP or licensors)

The Pope invites the faithful to open their ears and their hearts to God's Word

During his catechesis at the weekly General Audience Pope Francis told those present that Christians need to be constantly open to and challenged by the Word of God.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis invited the faithful to place themselves in silent openness to God’s saving message as it resounds in the ecclesial assembly and is a fundamental aspect of God’s constant dialogue with his people.

The Pope’s words came on Wednesday during the General Audience as he continued his ongoing catechesis dedicated to the Eucharist with a reflection on the Liturgy of the Word.

During Mass, he said, God speaks to his people through the Liturgy of the Word, and the same Holy Spirit who inspired the sacred Scriptures opens our minds and hearts to that living word.

“That’s why, he explained, personal choices regarding the readings are not acceptable,” and he invited priests to attain to the readings listed in the Church’s Lectionary, and not replace them by reading from other sources - such as newspaper articles. This is something, he said, that favours ecclesial communion.

God’s Word is God’s Word! We can read the newspaper later on. In Church we read God’s Word. It is the Lord speaking to us” he said.

If you chat you cannot be listening to the Word of God
 

The Pope also reflected on the behavior of Church-goers pointing out that if one chats during Mass, one doesn’t hear God’s Word. And He urged them to open their hearts in silence to be able to receive His message and then put its indications into practice.

We need to listen! Since we do not live ‘by bread alone’, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, we need to be constantly open to, and challenged by, that word, in our lives as individuals and in our life as a Church. This is why we talk about the Liturgy of the Word as ‘the table of God’s Word’ that the Lord sets to nourish our spiritual life” he said.

Active participation
 

The Responsorial Psalm, Francis said, favours God’s dialogue with his people as it sets the meditative mood for the next reading and he invited the faithful to participate “at least in the response”. The Liturgical proclamation, he added, expresses and favours ecclesial communion and accompanies believers in their journey of faith.

We need good readers

 

Francis also reflected on the need for good readers and psalmists, whom, he said, must practice: “this favours an atmosphere of receptive silence” he said.“We know, he continued, that the Lord’s Word is an indispensable aid to avoid getting lost: it lights up our path.” he said.

“How could we undertake our earthly pilgrimage, with all of its burdens and challenges without being regularly nourished and enlightened by God’s Word that resounds in the Liturgy?” he said.

In conclusion the Pope noted that it is not enough to listen only with ears, but with open hearts so that the Word can make its way inside us and make itself evident in our hands “as we carry out good works”.

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31 January 2018, 13:32