Vatican City (AsiaNews) - You can "lose your life" for Christ in many ways: like the martyrs, "the best example"; by doing your duty, like many "moms and dads" and "serving the truth" , like John the Baptist and many "righteous men and women who prefer to go against the tide, so as not to deny the voice of conscience, the voice of truth." This witness to Jesus is also open to those who are not explicitly Christian, and was proposed today Pope Francis in his reflection before the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter's Square.
Addressing tens of thousands of
pilgrims, the pontiff took his cue from today's Gospel (Luke 9, 18-24), and
asked: "what does to 'lose your life for the cause of Jesus' mean?".
"It may mean - he explained - explicitly confessing the faith, but it can also mean, in an implicit way, defending the truth. Martyrs are the best example of losing one's life for Christ. In two thousand years an immense host men and women have sacrificed their lives to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and his Gospel. And today, in many parts of the world, there are martyrs: men and women who are imprisoned, killed for the sole reason of their being Christians. And they are more numerous than in the first centuries of the Church. "
And speaking off the cuff he
added, "So many martyrs today give their lives for Jesus, many more that
2000 years ago. This is our Church."
"But there is even a daily martyrdom - he said afterwards - which do not result in death but is also a" loss of life "for Christ, doing your duty with love, according to the logic of Jesus, the logic the gift of sacrifice. Many dads and moms every day put their faith into practice concretely offering through their lives for the good of the family! Many priests, monks, nuns generously serve the kingdom of God! Many young people give up their own interests to devote their time to children, disabled, elderly ... ". "These are also the martyrs, he added, martyrs of everyday life."
But then - he added - "there
are so many people, Christians and non-Christians who" lose their lives"for
the truth. And Christ said" I am the truth "and those who serve the
truth serve Christ."
"One of these people, who gave his life for the truth - he continued - is John the Baptist who we celebrate tomorrow, 24 June, is his great feast, the feast of his birth. John was chosen by God to prepare the way before Jesus, and he pointed him out to the people of Israel as the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (cf. Jn 1:29). John devoted himself entirely to God and his messenger, Jesus. But eventually died for the cause of truth, when he denounced the adultery of King Herod and Herodias. How many people pay dearly for their commitment to the truth! Many righteous men prefer to swim against the tide, so as not to deny the voice of conscience, the voice of truth! Righteous individuals, who are not afraid to go against the trend. And we should not be afraid to go against the trend. And I say to you young people: Do not be afraid to go against the trend... When they propose values that are spoiled. These things are bad for us. You young people must be brave and go against the prevailing trends. And be proud to do so. "
Dear friends, we welcome with joy the word of Jesus. They are a rule of life for everyone. And St. John the Baptist will help us put it into practice. "
"On this path - he concluded - before us, as always, our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary: she lost her life for Jesus, for the cross, and she was received in full, with all the light and beauty of the Resurrection. Mary help us to always do our most to follow the logic of the Gospel. "
After the Marian prayer and a shortened blessing (without some introductory formulas), the pope added again: "Do not be afraid to go against the tide! Let us go forward without those spoiled foods that are bad for us. We must put aside those spoiled values".