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Day: April 18, 2016

Pope Francis meets President of Central African Republic

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Monday with the President of the Central African Republic, Faustin Archange Touadéra, recalling the warm welcome he received during his pastoral journey to that country last November. During his visit to the Vatican, the President also held talks with Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher.
A statement from the Holy See press office said the cordial talks between the Pope and the President noted how the recent electoral process and the ongoing institutional reforms are taking place in a constructive manner, supported by dialogue between the different religious communities. The two leaders expressed the desire that this process may mark the start of an era of peace and prosperity for the entire nation.
At the same time, discussions also focused on the way the consequences of the years of conflict still weigh heavily on the people of the CAR, stressing the need for the international community to continue to support the development of the country.
The statement said the two leaders also spoke about the good bilateral relations between the Holy See and the Central African Republic, sharing the hope that those relations may be further consolidated through legal instruments in the context of international law.
Finally the communique said appreciation was expressed for the contribution of the Catholic Church and its pastors to the wellbeing of society in the CAR, especially in the fields of education, health care, reconciliation and national reconstruction.
(from Vatican Radio)…

?Mass at Santa Marta – The requisite direction

The direction for Christian life are quite
simple. There is no need to go searching for advice: suffice it follow a voice,
like sheep do with their shepherd. The image of Jesus the Good Shepherd was the
focus of Pope Francis’ homily during Mass at Santa Marta on Monday, 18 April. The
liturgy of the day offers a sort of “echo of the readings” of the Fourth Sunday
of Easter, which is called “Good Shepherd Sunday, in which Jesus presents
himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’”. Commenting on this theme in the Gospel of John
(10:1-10), the Pontiff highlighted “three realities” on which he chose “to
reflect a bit: the door, the path, and the voice”. First
the “door”. The Gospel passage presents Jesus’ words: “Truly, truly, I say to
you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another
way, that man is a thief and a robber”. This is the first image, Francis
emphasized: “He is the door: the door by which to enter the sheepfold is Jesus.
There is no other”. It is worth noting, the Pope said, that Jesus always spoke
to the people using “simple images”. Indeed, “those people all knew what a
shepherd’s life was, because they saw it every day”. Therefore those who heard
him understood very well: “the sheepfold is entered only through the door”.
Those who would rather enter the fold “through the window or by some other
means are criminals”. The Gospel defines them as thieves and a robbers. Thus
it is all very clear: “One cannot enter eternal life through another way that
is not the door, that is, which is not Jesus”. And, the Pontiff added, the Lord
“is the door of our life— and not only of eternal life but also of our daily
life”. Thus, for example, any decision can be taken “in the name of Jesus,
through the door of Jesus”. Or, to use “simple language”, one can take it by
“smuggling”. But the Lord “speaks clearly”. The sheepfold is entered “only
through the door, which is Jesus”. The
Gospel of John continues, and the words of the Lord offer another important
element: that of the “path”. Indeed, we read that the gatekeeper opens the door
to the shepherd, that “the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by
name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before
them, and the sheep follow him”. Here,
Francis offered a second key word: “path: following Jesus”. This too involves
everyday life: indeed, we speak of the “path of life, of everyday life”, which
“is following Jesus”. Here too the direction is clear: “Do not go astray!”, the
Pope advised. It is Jesus “who is the door through which we enter and through
which we exit with him to take the path of life”. It is Jesus who “shows us the
way”. Thus, “those who follow Jesus do not go astray”. The
direction is clear, but there are many occasions to go astray, so the Pontiff
hypothesized a situation that might present itself: “Yes, Father, but things
are difficult…. Many times I co not clearly see what to do…. They told me
that there was a fortune teller and I went there; I went to a fortune teller
and he read my cards…”. The Pope’s advice was immediate: “If you do this, you
aren’t following Jesus! You are following someone else, who gives you another,
different path”, because “there is no one else who can point out the path”. This
describes a problem that Jesus warned us about: “There will be others who will
say: the path of the Messiah is this, this…. Do not listen! Do not listen to
them. I am the way!”. This, the Pope said, is certain: “If we follow him we are
not mistaken”. Finally
the third word: “voice”. The sheep follow Jesus “because they know his voice”.
The Pontiff expanded on the concept to prevent any misunderstanding: “Know the
voice of Jesus! Do not imagine that I am speaking about an apparition, that
Jesus will come and say to you: ‘Do this’. No, no!”. Someone might ask:
“Father, how can I recognize Jesus’ voice? And also protect myself from the
voice of those who are not Jesus, who come in through the window, who are
robbers, who destroy, who deceive?”. Once again the recipe is simple, with
three instructions. First of all, Francis suggested, “you will find Jesus’
voice in the Beatitudes”. Therefore, those who teach “a path contrary to the
Beatitudes are those who have entered through the window: they are not Jesus!”.
Then, Jesus’ voice can be recognized in those who “speak to us about the works
of mercy. For example, in Chapter 25 of St Matthew”. Thus, the Pope clarified,
“if someone tells you what Jesus says there, it is the voice of Jesus”. Last,
the third indication: “you can recognize the voice of Jesus when they teach you
to say ‘Father’, that is, when they teach you to pray the Our Father”. The
Pontiff’s conclusion: “Christian life is this simple! Jesus is the door. He
leads us on the path and we recognize his voice in the Beatitudes, in the works
of mercy and when he teaches us to say ‘Father’”. The Pope added a prayer:
“that the Lord help us to understand this image of Jesus, this icon: the
shepherd, who is the door, points to the path and teaches us to hear his

Pope Francis: Jesus is the door, path, voice to heed

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. Following the Readings of the Day, the Holy Father offered some reflections on the theme of docility to Christ, who is the door through which we must pass if we would enter into eternal life, the way we must take if we are to reach eternal life, and the voice of the teacher who has words of eternal life.
Click below to hear our report

Drawing especially on the Reading from the Gospel according to St. John (Jn. 10:1-10), Pope Francis recalled the Lord’s words – at once a warning and a promise – echoing the readings of Good Shepherd Sunday the day before. “He who does not enter the sheepfold by the door,” but tries another way, “is a thief and a robber,” he said. Christ is the door, stressed Pope Francis, “and there is no other.”
Always ask ourselves if we take decisions in the name of Jesus
Pope Francis went on to note the simplicity of the language with which Jesus addresses His teachings to the people – a simplicity of imagery that conveys profound truths in a powerful way. “Jesus,” he said, “always spoke to people with simple images: all those people knew what a shepherd’s life was like, because they saw it every day.” They also understood, therefore, what it meant to say, “you enter only through the gate of the sheep pen,” and that anyone trying to get in by any other way was up to no good:
“The Lord thus clearly says: you cannot enter eternal life by any entryway that is not the door – that is not Jesus. He is the door of our life – and not only of eternal life, but also of our daily lives. Any decision I take, I take either in the name of Jesus, passing by way of the door of Jesus, or I take it a little – shall we say in simple language – through the smuggler’s hatch [It. contrabbando ]? We enter the enclosure through the door, which is Jesus.”
Follow Jesus, not fortune tellers and alleged visionaries
Jesus continued, therefore, speak of the way. The shepherd knows His sheep and leads them out: “He walks in front of them, and the sheep follow him.” The journey is just that, the Pope said, “following Jesus” on the “path of life, the life of every day,” and we need not fear being misled, when we follow Him as He shows us the way:
“Those who follow Jesus do nor err! ‘Oh, Father, yes, but things are difficult … So many times I do not see clearly what to do … I was told that there was a seer and I went there and I went there; I went to the [fortune teller], who turned the cards to me …’ If you do this, you do not follow Jesus. You follow another, who shows you another way, a different way. Jesus shows the way forward: there is no other who can show the way.’ Jesus has warned us: ‘There will be others who will say the way of the Messiah is this, this, this [other way]: do not listen. Do not hear them. I am the way.’ Jesus is the door and also the path: if we follow Him we shall not go astray.”
We can hear the voice of Jesus in the Beatitudes
Pope Francis then focused on the voice of the Good Shepherd. “The sheep, he said, “follow Him because they know his voice.” Only, how can we know the voice of Jesus, and even defend ourselves “from the voices of those who are not Jesus, those entering through the window, who are bandits, who [seek to] destroy and deceive you?”:
“I will tell you the recipe, [it is] simple: you will find the voice of Jesus in the Beatitudes. Should someone make to teach you a way contrary to the Beatitudes, [know] that such a one is one who has entered through the window: it is not Jesus! Second: you would know the voice of Jesus? You may know it when that voice speaks of the works of mercy. For example, in chapter 25 of St Matthew: if someone tells you what Jesus says there, that is the voice of Jesus. Third: you may know it is the voice of Jesus when it teaches you to say ‘Father’, that is, when it teaches you to pray the Our Father.”
Pope Francis concluded, saying that the Christian life is really quite easy: Jesus is the door; He guides us along the Way, and we know His voice in the Beatitudes, in the works of mercy and when it teaches us to say ‘Father’. “The door, the path and the voice,” said Pope Francis. “May the Lord make us understand that this is Jesus, this is the icon of Him: the pastor who leads, who shows the way, and teaches us to listen to His voice.”
(from Vatican Radio)…