Pope at Mass in Hungary: Christ calls us by name and sends us forth

Celebrating Sunday Mass in Budapest’s historic Kossuth Lajos Square, Pope Francis reflects on the image of the Good Shepherd, who knows His sheep and calls them by name, and then sends us forth to be witnesses of the Gospel.

Apr 30, 2023

Pope Francis at Mass in Budapest

By Christopher Wells
Pope Francis began his third and final day in Budapest with the celebration of Holy Mass with tens of thousands of faithful gathered in Kossuth Lajos Square in central Budapest.

The Holy Father based his homily on the Gospel reading for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, which focuses on the figure of the Good Shepherd. A good shepherd, he said, “gives his life for his sheep.”

"Jesus, like a shepherd who goes in search of his flock, came to find us when we were lost," he said. "Like a shepherd, He came to snatch us from death."

Christ, the Good Shepherd, does two things in particular for His sheep, the Pope continued: He calls His sheep by name, and He leads them out.

Called by name
Pope Francis reminded the faithful that God calls each of us by our name, desiring “to save us from sin and death, to give us life in abundance and joy without end.”

“Jesus came as the Good Shepherd of humanity, to call us and bring us home.”

The Pope went on to explain that, as Christians, we are all “called by name by the Good Shepherd, summoned to receive and spread His love, to make His fold inclusive and never to exclude others.”

From this, he said, it follows that we are called to build fraternity and avoid divisions, “opening our hearts to mutual love.”

The Shepherd ‘leads them out’
After the Shepherd calls His sheep, the Pope continued, He goes on “to lead them out,” to send them forth into the world to be “witnesses of the love that has given us new birth.”

Introducing the image of the door, Pope Francis said that Jesus is the door that brings us “into the fold of the Church” and then “leads us back into the world.”

The Pope lamented the doors closed to the lonely, the underprivileged, foreigners, migrants; closed doors that are found “even in our ecclesial communities,” doors closed “to other people… to the world… to those who are ‘irregular’… those who long for God’s forgiveness.”

Pope Francis implored the faithful, “Please, let us open those doors! Let us try to be, in our words, deeds, and daily activities, like Jesus, an open door, a door that is never shut in anyone’s face, a door that enables everyone to enter and experience the beauty of God’s love.”

Be open doors!
Addressing bishops and priests, and all those who are "shepherds" within the Church, the Pope called them to be "increasingly open doors, 'facilitators' of God's grace.

He likewise called on the lay faithful, including catechists and pastoral workers, political and social leaders: "Be open doors! ... Be open and inclusive, then, and in this way, help Hungary to grow in fraternity, which is the path of peace."

The Holy Father concluded his homily by inviting the faithful to never be discouraged, and to remember that Jesus the Good Shepherd “calls us by name and cares for us with infinitely tender love.”--Vatican News

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