I am just like each of you, says Pontiff at general audience

The Pope is no more important than anyone else in the Church, the Holy Father has said.

Speaking at his weekly general audience, the Pope said: “The Church is not a weave of things and interests, it is rather the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Temple in which God works, the Temple in which each of us with the gift of Baptism is living stone. This tells us that no one is useless in the Church and should anyone chance to say, ‘Get home with you, you’re useless!’ that is not true.

“We are all needed in order to build this Temple. No one is secondary: ‘Ah, I am the most important one in the Church!’ No! We are all equal in the eyes of God. But, one of you might say, ‘Mr Pope, sir, you are not equal to us.’ But I am just like each of you. We are all equal. We are all brothers and sisters. No one is anonymous: all form and build the Church.”

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Speaking to crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday morning, the Pope said: “What does the word, ‘temple’ call to mind? It makes us think of a building, a construction. In particular, it recalls to many minds the history of the People of Israel narrated in the Old Testament.

“In Jerusalem, the great Temple of Solomon was the locus of the encounter with God in prayer. Within the Temple was the Ark of the Covenant, a sign of God’s presence among the people, and inside the Ark were the Tablets of the Law, the manna and the rod of Aaron, a reminder that God had always been in the history of his people, had always been with them on their journey, always directed their stride – and the Temple recalls this story.

“We, too, when we go to the Temple, must remember this story – my story, the story of each one of us – of how Jesus encountered me, of how he walked with me, how Jesus loves and blesses me.”

Pope Francis concluded his catechetical remarks by challenging the faithful to live “joyous” lives and open themselves to the Holy Spirit.

He said: “So I would like for us to ask ourselves: how do we live our being Church? We are living stones? Are we rather, so to speak, tired stones, bored, indifferent? Have any of you ever noticed how ugly a tired, bored, indifferent Christian is? It’s an ugly sight. A Christian has to be lively, joyous, he has to live this beautiful thing that is the People of God, the Church. Do we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, so as to be an active part of our communities, or do we close in on ourselves, saying, ‘I have so many things to do, that’s not my job?’”

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