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Pope Francis at Wednesday’s General Audience at the Vatican (Daniel Ibanez, CNA)

The Church is called to seek out those who have gone astray, with an apostolic zeal based on the identity of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, Pope Francis said at his Wednesday audience. Source: Vatican News.

The Pope continued his cycle of catechesis on apostolic zeal and invited those gathered in the Paul VI Hall to imitate the Good Shepherd and see the lost member of the flock not as an enemy but as an opportunity to bear witness to the joy of the Lord.

He noted that the Christmas Gospel defines Jesus as the “Word of God”, and said this fact highlights an essential aspect of Jesus, namely, that He is always “outgoing”.

The Word exists to be communicated and transmitted, the Pope continued, and “Christ not only has words of life, but makes His life a Word”.

Pope Francis then noted that we see, through the Gospel, the intimacy that Jesus had with the Father, especially through His moments of prayer.

“He makes all of His decisions and important choices after having prayed. Through prayer, Jesus reveals His mission,” he said.

His service is always directed toward other people. In fact, speaking about His mission, Jesus says that He did not come “to be served, but to serve and give His own life”.

Pope Francis then noted that Jesus is referred to as “the Good Shepherd”.

Jesus gave His life for us and “by staying with Jesus, we discover that His pastoral heart always beats for the person who is confused, lost, far away.”

The Pope then stressed that “if we want to train our apostolic zeal, we must always think of the lost sheep.”


Pope at Audience: Church called to seek out those who have gone astray (By Francesca Merlo, Vatican News)


Pope Francis: Jesus is ‘the unsurpassed model of evangelization’ (CNA)