Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - The Catholic Church is " apostolic " because it is founded on the preaching and prayer of the apostles and authority given to them by Christ himself, it is because it preserves and transmits the teaching transmitted by the Apostles, the Sacred Scripture and sacraments, and it is sent to bring the Gospel to all the world , continuing the mission that Jesus entrusted to the apostles .
Pope Francis also dedicated
today's general audience to the words of "The Creed " dedicated to
the Church , in particular the meaning of the term " apostolic " . More
than 70 thousand people were present in St Peter's Square , among which he
toured in his jeep , blessing people and religious objects and kissing babies.
Near the colonnade he even got out of the jeep to greet a group of young people
up close and put on a helmet fire gifted him by some firefighters .
To say that the Church is Apostolic, in the words of the Pope, "means that it has the necessary link with the apostles, with that small group of twelve men whom Jesus called to him one day , he called them by name, to remain with him and to send them out to preach . "
But the Church , which " has its roots in the teaching of the apostles, true witnesses of Christ," " always looks to the future, has the firm awareness of being sent , sent by Jesus to be a missionary Church , carrying the name of Jesus, with prayer, proclamation and witness . A Church that is closed in on itself and in the past or a Church that only looks at the little rules of habit, of attitudes is a Church that betrays its identity. A closed Church betrays its own identity . "
"Apostle ", in fact , is a Greek word which means "mandated", "sent " . An apostle is one who is sent, sent to do something. It is a strong word , and the Apostles were chosen, called and sent by Jesus to continue his work , namely, pray. This is the primary task of an apostle . Prayer. And, second: to proclaim the Gospel. "
"And when we think of the successors of the apostles - the bishops; the bishops , the Pope is Bishop - we must ask ourselves if this successor of the apostle prays - first - and proclaims the Gospel . This, is to be an apostle , and for this reason the Church is Apostolic . " "This is the Apostolic Church . It is a constitutive relationship that we have with the apostles ."
Pope Francis then stressed three meanings of the adjective "Apostolic " as applied to the Church.
"First : The Church is apostolic because she is founded on prayer and preaching of the Apostles, on the authority that was given to them by Christ himself." " The apostles lived with Jesus , heard his words , they shared his life , above all were witnesses to his death and resurrection. Our faith , the Church that Christ willed , is not based on an idea, it is not is based on a philosophy : it is based on Christ himself . The Church also is like a plant that has grown over the centuries , it has developed , has borne fruit , but its roots are firmly planted in Him and the fundamental experience of Christ which the Apostles, chosen and sent by Jesus, had - comes to us : from the tiny plant to these days. This is, the Church , for the whole world . "
" But let us ask : how is it possible for us to connect with that testimony , as it may come down to us what have they experienced the Apostles with Jesus , what have they heard from Him? Here is the second meaning of the term "Apostolic . " The Catechism of the Church states that the Catholic Church is apostolic because it " keeps and, with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching, the "good deposit," the salutary words she has heard from the apostles" (No. 857 .) down through the centuries the Church has kept this precious treasure , which is the Holy Scripture , the doctrine , the sacraments , the ministry of pastors , so that we can be faithful to Christ and share in His life. It 's like a river flowing through history, that develops, irrigates, but the water flowing is always the one that starts from the source , and the source is Christ himself : He is risen , He is the Living One, and His words do not pass. Because He does not pass, He is alive , He today is among us , here . He hears us when we talk to Him, listens to us , He is in our hearts : Jesus is with us today . "
"One last thought : the Church is apostolic because it is sent to take the Gospel to the whole world . It continues on the path of history, the same mission that Jesus entrusted to the apostles ." "I insist on this aspect of missionary activity, since Christ invites everyone to ' go ' out to others, sends us , asking us to move to bring the joy of the Gospel. Once again let us ask ourselves: are we missionaries with our words , but especially with our Christian life ? With our testimony? Or are we Christians locked in our hearts and in our churches? Sacristy Christians ? Christians who only talk the talk , but live like pagans ? We must ask ourselves these things! This is not a rebuke . I too, ask myself am I a Christian ? With my witness, really? " .
"The Church has its roots in the teaching of the Apostles, true witnesses of Christ, but always looking to the future, she is firm in the knowledge she is being sent , sent by Jesus to be missionary, carrying the name of Jesus, through prayer, proclamation and witness. " "So, today we discover all the beauty and the responsibility of being an Apostolic Church ! And remember , huh? : Apostolic because we pray - our first task - and because we proclaim the Gospel with our lives and also with words ."