"Take care of each other and of the entire flock": Pope tells the bishops

Pope Francis at the Santa Casa Marta homily, focussed on the daily reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

“Compelled by the Holy Spirit”, Paul departs from Ephesus, taking leave from the presbyters of the Church, toward his journey to Jerusalem in a “move, a move that reaches the heart, it’s also a move that shows us the pathway for every bishop when it’s time to take his leave and step down,” says Pope Francis.

While taking leave from the elders of the Church in Ephesus, Paul “examines his conscience” by asking the elders to be a judge of the things he had done for them. Pope says that Paul appears “a bit proud” in his words and the only thing he is proud of , is “his own sins and the Cross of Jesus Christ which saved him”.

Pope further explains the “compulsion from the Holy Spirit” and compares the experience of Paul, the apostle to that of bishops “who can discern the Spirit, who can discern when it is the Spirit of God speaking to him and who knows how to defend himself when spoken to by the spirit of the world.”

He further tells that Paul's “great love” was Jesus Christ, his second love being his flock. Therefore, Pope Francis in his homily inspires the bishops to “take care of each other and of the entire flock”.

“Keep watch over the flock: you are bishops for your flock, to take care of it and not in order to advance your ecclesiastical career,” he says.

On a final note, remembering the bishops in a prayer, Pope says: “May the Lord grant all of us the grace to be able to take our leave and step down in this way (like Paul), with that spirit, with that strength, with that love for Jesus Christ and this faith in the Holy Spirit.”

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