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Jesus not found outside the Church, Pope preaches
By Estefania Aguirre
“You cannot find Jesus outside the Church,” he said April 23 in the Apostolic Palace’s Pauline Chapel.
“It is the Mother Church who gives us Jesus, who gives us the identity that is not only a seal, it is a belonging,” he declared in his homily.
The pontiff spoke about Christian identity as well as persecution, making it the sixth time in two weeks he has mentioned those who suffer for the faith.
Speaking about the Gospel reading for today from Saint John, Pope Francis underscored that “the missionary expansion of the Church began precisely at a time of persecution.”
“They had this apostolic fervor within them, and that is how the faith spread!” he exclaimed.
It was through the Holy Spirit’s initiative that the Gospel was proclaimed to the Gentiles, the Pope noted, and the Spirit “pushes more and more in this direction of opening the proclamation of the Gospel to all.”
The pontiff also repeated a line from his April 17 homily in St. Martha’s residence, when he emphasized that being a Christian is not like having “an identity card.”
“Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these (the apostles) belonged to the Church, the Mother Church, because finding Jesus outside the Church is impossible,” he said.
“The great Paul VI said it is an absurd dichotomy to want to live with Jesus but without the Church, following Jesus out of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church,” he added.
Pope Francis said that “if we are not sheep of Jesus, faith does not come” and that it is “a rosewater faith and a faith without substance.”
The Pope also commented on Barnabas, who was sent to Antioch and was glad to see that the grace of God had encouraged people there to remain true disciples.
“Let us think of the consolations that Barnabas had, which is the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing,” he preached.
“Let us ask the Lord for this frankness, this apostolic fervor that impels us to move forward, as brothers, all of us forward,” he remarked.
After the Mass in the papal chapel, the Swiss Guard band offered a brief musical performance in the Courtyard of Saint Damaso for the Pope’s name day.
UN chief hails Pope Francis as a global spiritual leader
VATICAN CITY - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday hailed Pope Francis as "a spiritual leader of the world" and emphasized goals of social justice shared between the Vatican and the United Nations.
"It is very important to meet a spiritual leader of the world," Ban said at the start of his meeting with the Argentine pope, who last month became the first non-European leader of the world's Catholics in nearly 1,300 years.
"The Holy See and the UN share common goals and ideas," said Ban—one of the first world leaders to be received at an audience by the new pontiff.
Francis has called for the Roman Catholic Church to be closer to ordinary people and help the needy, as well as to reach out to people of different religions and non-believers.
"We discussed the need to advance social justice and accelerate work to meet the Millenium Development Goals," Ban said after the meeting.
The international community has undertaken to meet goals including eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and reducing child mortality by 2015.
"Pope Francis is a man of peace and purpose. He is a voice for the voiceless," he said.
Ban said he also invited the pope to visit the United Nations "at his earliest convenience."
The UN leader also commented on the pope's choice to name himself after St Francis of Assisi, saying this was "a powerful message for the many goals shared by the United Nations."
"It speaks loudly of his commitment to the poor, his acute sense of humility, his passion and compassion to improve the human condition," he said.
Ban gave the pope a large book with the Charter of the United Nations in six languages.
The pope, who only spoke in Italian, gave Ban a mosaic of Rome.