Pope Francis resumed daily Mass Tuesday after his papal visit to Albania, telling those present that living the Christian life is simple: listen to God's word and put it into practice. “These are the two conditions in order to follow Jesus, hear the word of God and put it into practice. This is the Christian life, nothing more,” the Pope said Sept. 23 at the Saint Martha residence. “Simple, easy. Maybe we've made it a little difficult with explanations that no one understands, but the Christian life is this: listen to the word of God and practice it.” This morning's Mass is the Pope's first this week after his one-day visit to Albania on Sunday. The Sept. 21 trip was packed with a full slate of meetings with local state and Church leaders as well as members of religious and lay groups. The day also included a quick visit to a center for abandoned children. A reoccurring theme in Pope Francis' remarks Sunday was the condemnation of all violence done in the name of religion as well as the repeated acknowledgment of the brutal persecution of religious groups carried out late last century under the country's now-collapsed atheistic regime. During his homily at daily Mass Tuesday, the Pope urged Christians to read God's word faithfully and to truly listen with our hearts to what he has to say. “Every time we do this — we open the Gospel and read a passage and ask ourselves: 'Does God speak to me, say something to me?' And if he says something, how would you respond?” “This is to listen to the word of God, listen with your ears and hear with your heart.” God, he emphasized, “speaks to each of us. The Gospel was written for each of us.” Although putting God's word into practice “is not easy,” Christ is “merciful and forgives all,” even those who hear his word and turn against him. “Think of Judas. 'Friend' he says, in that moment” in the Gospel where he betrays Christ. “The Lord,” Pope Francis reflected, is “always sowing his word, just asking an open heart to listen and willingness to put it into practice.” “For this reason, then prayer today, which is that of the Psalm: 'Lead me Lord on the path of your commands,' that is the path of your Word, and that I may learn with your guide to put it into practice.”
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