» 04/21/2015, 00.00
Pope: Church of today is a "Church of martyrs", many whose throats are cut, who are burnt alive or thrown into the sea "because they are Christians"
"Let us think of our brothers whose throats were slit on the beach in Libya; let’s think of the young boy who was burnt alive by his companions because he was a Christian; let us think of those migrants thrown from their boat into the open sea by other migrants because they were Christians; let us think – just the day before yesterday – of those Ethiopians assassinated because they were Christians… and of many others. Many others of whom we do not even know and who are suffering in jails because they are Christians… ".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Church of today is "Church of martyrs", whose throats are cut, who are burnt alive or thrown into the sea "because they are Christians" and also the "hidden martyrs" who are looking for new ways to help brothers and for this are persecuted by "modern Sanhedrins”. These were Pope Francis thoughts today during Mass celebrated at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the passage from the Acts of the Apostles, which speaks of the judgment of the Sanhedrin against Stephen and his subsequent stoning.
Stephen's witness, the Pope observed, was such that his detractors "could not resist the wisdom" and the spirit "with which he spoke." Like Jesus, Stephen faces false witnesses and the revolt of the people who brought him to trial. Stephen reminds them how many prophets have been killed for being faithful to God's Word and when "he confesses his vision of Jesus," his persecutors are scandalized, they block their ears not to hear, and then drag him out of the city to stone him".
Drawing inspiration from the First Reading of the Act of the Apostles which tells of the stoning and martyrdom of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, the Pope remembered “our brothers whose throats have been slit on the beaches of Libya”, he spoke of “the young boy who was burnt alive by his companions because he was Christian”, he recalled “the migrants who were thrown from their boat into open sea” because, they too, were Christians.
“God’s Word is always rejected by some. God’s Word is inconvenient when you have a stone heart, when you have a pagan heart, because God’s Word asks you to go ahead trying to satisfy your hunger with the bread which Jesus spoke of. In the history of the Revelation many martyrs have been killed for their faith and loyalty towards God’s Word, God’s Truth”.
Pope Francis continued comparing the martyrdom of Stephen to that of Jesus: he too “died with that Christian magnanimity of forgiveness, praying for his enemies’. And those who persecuted the prophets believed they were giving glory to God; they thought they were being true to God’s doctrine. “Today – continued the Pope – I would like to remember that the true history of the Church is that of the Saints and the martyrs,” of so many who were persecuted and killed by those who thought they possessed the ‘truth’- whose heart was corrupted by ‘truth’:
“In these days how many Stephens there are in the world! Let us think of our brothers whose throats were slit on the beach in Libya; let’s think of the young boy who was burnt alive by his companions because he was a Christian; let us think of those migrants thrown from their boat into the open sea by other migrants because they were Christians; let us think – just the day before yesterday – of those Ethiopians assassinated because they were Christians… and of many others. Many others of whom we do not even know and who are suffering in jails because they are Christians… The Church today is a Church of martyrs: they suffer, they give their lives and we receive the blessing of God for their witness”.The Pope also spoke of the many “hidden martyrs: those men and women who are faithful to the voice of the Spirit and who are searching for new ways and paths to help their brothers better love God”. He said they are often viewed with suspicion, vilified and persecuted by so many modern ‘Sanhedrins’ who think they are the possessors of truth.
“And also many martyrs hidden to be faithful in their family suffer so much for their faithfulness. Our Church is a Church of martyrs. And now, in our celebration the first martyr comes to us, the first who gave witness and more: He gave salvation to all of us. Let us unite ourselves with Jesus in the Eucharist, and unite ourselves with so many brothers and sisters who suffer martyrdom persecution, slander and death for their faith in the only bread that satisfies, that is, in Jesus”.
Pope: Christians and the temptation to "sell ourselves" to be "normal" and "like everyone else"
In the homily at Mass in Santa Marta, Pope Francis warns Christians against the "worldly normality", which forgets the election we have received and induces us to live with an "inferiority complex" not being "normal people " . In order not to fall into this trap, it is important to open our hearts to the Word of God, to walk the "true" path.
Pope: Christians must seek unity, struggling against "the spirit of the world", which creates division
On the eve of the Passion, Jesus prayed "for the unity of his people, for the Church." But Jesus "knows that the spirit of the world" is "a spirit of division, of war, of envy, jealousy, even in families, even in religious families, even in the diocese, even in the Church as a whole: it is the great temptation".
15/03/2016 12:00:00 VATICAN
Pope: Salvation comes from Christ’s' suffering, which defeated "the ancient serpent" forever
To know how much God loves us, we only have to contemplate the Crucifix: a tortured man, a God," emptied of divinity"," dirtied" by sin. But a God whose self-abasement forever destroys the real name of evil, that which Revelation calls "the ancient serpent".
29/02/2016 14:30:00 VATICAN
Pope: Salvation doesn’t come from clerical or political power, but from "small things"
"It would do us good to make a bit 'of time - today, tomorrow – and read the Beatitudes, read Matthew 25, and be careful about what happens in our heart: if there is something of disdain and ask the Lord for the grace to understand that the only way of salvation is the 'folly of the Cross', that is, the annihilation of the Son of God”.
25/02/2016 13:36:00 VATICAN
Pope: true faith is seeing Jesus in the poor person who knocks at our door
Commenting on the parable of the rich man, Francis notes that the Gospel he does not mention his name. "This wealth, this is power, this can accomplish anything, this is a priest with a career, a bishop with a career ... How often do we too do this... label people with adjectives, not names, because they have no substance."
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.
Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.