In his daily homily on Tuesday Pope Francis spoke about the love of Jesus for his Church, noting how in the Gospel he prayed for his disciples, chose them personally and remained close to each. “These are things of love! Love does not consider whether someone has an ugly face or a beautiful face: it loves! And Jesus does the same: He loves and chooses with love. He chooses all,” the Pope voiced to attendees of his Sept. 9 daily Mass. In God’s book, “no one is ‘important’ — in inverted commas — according to the criteria of the world: it is the common people.” Taking his cue from the day’s Gospel from Luke which recounts Jesus’ choosing of the Twelve Apostles, the pontiff explained that a major theme evident is prayer, because Jesus “spent the night in prayer to God” before naming them. “It seems a little strange that He who came to give us salvation, who has the power, prays to the Father,” he said, however “Jesus is the great intercessor.” “He stands before the Father in this moment, praying for us. And this should give us courage! Because in moments of difficulty or of need…He is praying.” Explaining how Jesus’ work today consists in praying for the members of his Church, the Roman Pontiff noted that we often forget about this. But “this is our strength: to be able to say to the Father, ‘But if you, Father, will not consider us, consider your Son who prays for us.’” The Pope went on to recount how after Jesus prays in the Gospel, he goes on to choose the Twelve from among all of his disciples. This shows clearly that “It was not you who chose Me; I chose you!” he said, noting that “This second moment gives us courage: ‘I am chosen, I am chosen by the Lord! On the day of Baptism He chose me.” Jesus chooses all in spite of how we look or our status in life, the Bishop of Rome observed, saying that a key characteristic of everyone called by him is that “they are sinners. Jesus has chosen sinners. He chooses sinners.” “And this is the accusation made by the doctors of the law, the scribes: ‘This man goes to eat with sinners, he talks to prostitutes…’ Jesus calls everyone!” Bringing to mind the parable of the wedding of the son, the pontiff recounted how when none of the invited guests showed up, “what did the master of the house do? The Gospel says he told his servants: ‘Go out and bring everyone to the house, good and bad.’ Jesus has chosen everyone.” He then drew attention to the final part of the Gospel in which large crowds came to Jesus in order to hear him preach and to be healed. Jesus, the Pope observed, is “near to the people.” “He is not a professor, a teacher, a mystic who is far from the people and speaks from the professor’s chair. No! He is in the midst of the people, He lets them touch Him, He lets them ask of Him. That’s Jesus: close to the people.” Pope Francis went on to describe how this nearness was nothing new for Jesus, explaining that he emphasized it “in His way of acting, but it is something that comes out of God’s first choice of His people.” “God says to His people, ‘Consider: What people have a God as close as I am to you?’ God’s closeness to His people is the closeness of Jesus amid the crowds.” The Roman Pontiff concluded his reflections by emphasizing how the Lord is “One who prays, one who chooses the people, and one who is not ashamed to be close to the people. And this gives us confidence in Him. Let us trust in Him because He prays, because He has chosen us, and because He is close to us.”