» 12/26/2017, 13.22
Pope: St. Stephen, Christ's message is unsettling, and unsettles us
At the Angelus, Pope Francis explains the "very strong" link between the feast of the first martyr and Christmas. The message of Jesus "challenges worldly religious power and provokes consciences". Stephen’s words of forgiveness to his persecutors, "humanly unthinkable expressions", "possible only because the Son of God came to earth and died and rose for us".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Jesus' message is unsettling, and unsettles us, because it challenges the worldly religious power and provokes consciences" said Pope Francis commenting on the significance of today's feast, St. Stephen, first Christian martyr, the day after Christmas. The Pope spoke of how there is "a very strong link" between the two events.
"Saint Stephen created a crisis for the leaders of his people because “filled with faith and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6,5), he believed firmly and professed the new presence of God among men; he knew that the true temple of God was now Jesus, the eternal Word come to dwell among us, made like unto us in all things but sin. But Stephen was accused of preaching the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem. The accusation they make against him is of having said that “Jesus, this Nazorean, will destroy this place and subvert the customs that Moses handed down to us” (Acts 6:14) ".
"In effect, the message of Jesus is unsettling, and unsettles us, because it challenges the worldly religious power and provokes consciences. After His coming, it is necessary for us to convert, to change our mentality, to reject thinking like before. Stephen remained anchored to the message of Jesus even to death. His final prayers — “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” and “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7,59-69) — are the faithful echo of those pronounced by Jesus on the Cross: “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit” (Lk 23,46), and “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (v.34). Those words of Stephen were possible only because the Son of God had come upon the earth, and died, and rose for us; before these events, they were humanly unthinkable expressions".
"Stephen prayed Jesus to receive his spirit. The risen Christ, in fact, is the Lord, and is the sole mediator between God and men, not only in the hour of our death, but also in every moment of life: without Him we can do nothing (cf. Jn 15,5). So we too, before the Baby Jesus in the manger, can say to Him, “Lord Jesus, we entrust our spirit to You; receive it,” so that our existence should truly be a good life according to the Gospel.
Jesus is our mediator, and He reconciles us not only with the Father, but also with one another. He is the fount of love, Who opens us to communion with our brothers, removing every conflict and resentment. We know resentment is bad. It hurts and it hurts us. And Jesus transforms these resentments".
"To Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer and Queen of Martyrs, let us lift up our prayer with confidence, that she might help us to welcome Jesus as Lord of our life, and to become His courageous witnesses, ready to pay in person the price of fidelity to the Gospel".
After the Marian prayer, Francis renewed the Christmas greetings to those present: "These are for you and your family, days when you can enjoy the beauty of being together feeling that Jesus is among us".
26/12/2016 13:56:00 VATICAN
Pope: Saint Stephen, even now the Church experiences severe persecution up to the supreme test of martyrdom
In today's Angelus, Pope Francis said that martyrdom "continues to be present in the history of the Church, from Stephen to this day." For him, "The world hates Christians for the same reason it hated Jesus." The pontiff calls for closeness with "our tears" to those who now suffer martyrdom. “[T]oday’s martyrs are more numerous than those of the first centuries” with “the same cruelty”. A moment of silent prayer was held for the victims of the Russian plane crash in the Black Sea.
Let us think today about all the Christians who give their life for their faith, says pope
During the Angelus for the first martyr, Benedict XVI said the “pope does not forget” persecuted Christians and the “innocent blood” spilled in the attacks in Nigeria. “Violence leads only to pain, destruction and death. Respect, reconciliation and love are the way to achieve peace.”
For pope, persecution is not over, there are more martyrs today than in the past
Francis talks about the story of Stephen, the first martyr, a victim of calumny, which is not only a sin, but "comes from a very evil thing; it is born from hatred. And hate is Satan's work. [. . .] The Church has many men and women who are maligned through calumny, who are persecuted, who are killed in hatred of Jesus, in hatred of the faith."
22/04/2016 13:49:00 VATICAN
Pope: Announcing the Gospel, intercession and hope, lynchpins of Christian life
"Each one of us, let’s ask ourselves: How is the announcement (of Jesus) in my life? How is my relationship with Jesus who intercedes for me? And how is my hope? Do I truly believe that the Lord is risen? Do I believe that he prays to the Father on my behalf? Each time that I call him, He is praying for me, He is interceding? ".
13/09/2017 11:39:00 VATICAN
Pope: Trip to Colombia to bless the reconciliation effort
"A country with strong Christian roots, but where" it is evident that the evil one wanted to divide the people to destroy the work of God. " "Peace is also founded, and perhaps above all, on the blood of many witnesses of love, truth, justice, and even true martyrs, killed for faith," such as Bishop Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve, and Pedro María Ramírez Ramos, a priest, beatified in Villavicencio ".
EGYPT – LEBANON
Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'
A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.
15/01/2018 LEBANON - SYRIA
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