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Be unafraid to proclaim the faith, Pope says

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Pope Francis told the crowds assembled at St. Peter's Square today not to "build fences" around the Gospel or be afraid to proclaim their faith boldly to others throughout the world. “We can be frightened and give into the temptation to build fences to be safer, more secure. But Jesus teaches us that the good news is not reserved for a part of humanity, and to communicate it to everyone,” the Pontiff said, reflecting on the call of the first disciples. "The Gospel message is a happy announcement destined for those who await it, but also for the many who perhaps do not await anything more and do not even have the strength to look and to ask.”

Francis reflected that in beginning his ministry in Galilee, Jesus was preaching and teaching in “a border land, a region of transit where they encountered persons of different races, cultures and religions. Jesus’ mission did not originate in Jerusalem, that is, from the religious, social, and political center, but from a peripheral area, disdained by the more observant Jews, because of the presence of diverse populations in that region,” the Pope pointed out. “From this point of view, Galilee resembles the world of today: the simultaneous presence of diverse cultures, the need for comparison and for meeting. We too are immersed every day in a ‘Galilee of the people,’” taught the Pope, saying that Jesus' decision to preach and teach on what was in those days the political and social periphery of Jewish society in Galilee expresses that "no one is excluded" from God's saving desire for humanity.

“God prefers to start from the periphery, from the outermost, to reach everyone,” the Pope said, reminding those present that the first apostles were called from what might have been considered "low profile" people. “He does not address the school of the scribes and of the doctors of the law, but humble and simple people, who are preparing diligently for the coming of God's Kingdom. “Jesus goes to call them where they work, on the lakeshore: they are fishermen. He calls them, and they follow him immediately. They leave their nets and go with him. Their lives become an extraordinary and fascinating adventure,” the Pontiff taught.

“Dear friends, the Lord also calls us today! Each one you must realize that the Lord is watching you: if you hear Him saying follow me, you must have courage and go with Him. The Lord will never disappoint you.”

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