VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The final words at Mass – “Go in peace” – are an invitation to Christians to proclaim God’s blessings through their lives, not an opportunity to go outside and speak ill of others, Pope Francis said.
Through the Eucharist, Jesus “enters in our hearts and in our flesh so that we may express in our lives the sacrament we received in faith,” the pope said during his weekly general audience in Saint Peter’s Square April 4.
“But if we leave the church gossiping, saying, ‘Look at this one, look at that one,’ with a loose tongue, the Mass has not entered into my heart. Why? Because I am not able to live the Christian witness,” he said. “Every time I leave Mass, I must leave better than when I entered, with more life, with greater strength, with a greater desire to give Christian witness.”
An estimated 20,000 pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square dressed in bright ponchos and holding umbrellas to shield themselves from the cold rain.
After circling the square in his popemobile, the pope made his way to the stage, which was still adorned with flowers from the Easter celebrations.
Flowers, the pope said, are a symbol of the joy and happiness of Jesus’ resurrection when “our justification blossomed, the holiness of the church blossomed.”
In his main talk, the pope focused on the closing rites of Mass, finishing a series of audience talks on the liturgy.
As the Mass ends, he said, “the commitment of Christian witness” begins at home, at work and any time a Christian interacts with others; the idea is to “become Eucharistic men and women.”