There is no Christianity without persecution —the Father of evil is ever lurking…
(CUSA) – Despite the distortions of the media Pope Francis not only speaks about the plight of Christians around the world but chastises world leaders for doing nothing about it.
He makes it clear: Leaders of powerful nations could stop the advances of ISIS in the Middle East but do nothing. Think about that for a minute. He is calling for military intervention. And he is right to do so.
During this Mass with the new Armenian patriarch he even alluded to the possibility of his own and our own martyrdom. Will ISIS continue to advance in Europe? We don’t know. —Ed.
HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2015
Dear brothers and sisters,
There is no Christianity without persecution.
Even today, Perhaps more than in the early days, Christians are persecuted, killed, driven out, despoiled, only because they are Christians.
Remember the last of the Beatitudes: when they bring you into the synagogues, and persecute you, revile you, this is the fate of a Christian. Today too, this happens before the whole world, with the complicit silence of many powerful leaders who could stop it. We are facing this Christian fate: go on the same path of Jesus.
The first nation to convert to Christianity: the first. They were persecuted just for being Christians. The Armenian people were persecuted, chased away from their homeland, helpless, in the desert. This story began with Jesus: what people did to Jesus has during the course of history been done to His body, which is the Church.
Today, on this day of our first Eucharist, as brother Bishops, dear brother Bishops and Patriarch and all of you Armenian faithful and priests, I would like to embrace you and remember this persecution that you have suffered, and to remember your holy ones, your many saints who died of hunger, in the cold, under torture, cast into the wilderness only for being Christians.
We now, in the newspapers, hear the horror of what some terrorist groups do, who slit the throats of people just because they are Christians. We think of the Egyptian martyrs, recently, on the Libyan coast, who were slaughtered while pronouncing the name of Jesus.
Let us pray that the Lord might give us a full understanding, to know the Mystery of God who is in Christ, and who carries the Cross, the Cross of persecution, the Cross of hatred, the Cross of that, which comes from the anger of persecutors – an anger that is stirred up by the Father of Evil.
May the Lord, today, make us feel within the body of the Church, the love for our martyrs and also our vocation to martyrdom. We do not know what will happen here: we do not know.
Should this persecution happen here one day, let the Lord give us the grace of the courage and the witness that all Christian martyrs have shown, and especially the Christians of the Armenian people.
Translation from Vatican Radio