· On the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, the Pope recalls the courage of the apostles and the atrocious persecutions still afflicting Christians today ·
Still today in many parts of the world Christians are subjected to “atrocious, inhuman and incomprehensible persecutions”, which are “often under the silent gaze of all”. Pope Francis once again denounced the violence which continues to afflict believers, inviting everyone to look to the example of the apostles' courage. “Courage”, he explained during his homily at the Mass he celebrated in St Peter's on Monday, 29 June, the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, “is carried forward the work of evangelisation, free of fear of death and martyrdom”.
Referring precisely to that experience, the Pope first recalled the centrality of prayer. “The community of Peter and Paul”, he said, “teaches us that the Church at prayer is a Church on her feet, strong, moving forward!”. Indeed, “a Christian who prays is a Christian who is protected, guarded and sustained, and above all, who is never alone”, he said, speaking about when St Peter was freed by the angel. The Holy Father continued, urging us not to leave “outside the door” the many angels which the Lord “places on our path”.
Francis then underlined the power of faith and recalled how the Church “does not belong to Popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful” rather she “belongs solely to Christ”. From there the Pope spoke about the need for witness: “A Church or a Christian who does not give witness is sterile; like a dead person who thinks they are alive; like a dried up tree that produces no fruit; an empty well that offers no water!”. Then, the Pontiff asked the metropolitan archbishops, who during the celebration received the pallium, “not [to] contradict, by behaviour and lifestyle, what is preached with the word and taught to others”.
The “glorious heritage” of Peter and Paul was proposed again by the Pope at the Angelus which was recited at the end of the celebration. “Our prayer today is above all for the city of Rome, for its spiritual and material wellbeing”, he said before inviting the faithful to sustain his visit in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay on 5-12 July.
St. Peter’s Square
Jan. 17, 2019
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