Monday, April 15, 2013

Pope Francis: Sacrifice necessary for Christian life

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Francis delved deeper into the readings for the Third Sunday of Easter, highlighting proclamation, witness and worship as essential to the Faith, while also recognizing those who suffer for Christ in the world today.

While speaking of the First Reading, the Pope said “what strikes us is the strength of Peter and the Apostles” during his April 14 homily as he celebrated Mass at the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

Although they were ordered to be silent and not teach about the Risen Lord, the Apostles replied “We must obey God rather than men.”

Even in the face of violence and imprisonment, they “proclaim courageously, fearlessly” the Gospel of Jesus, the Pope said.

“And we? Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live?” Pope Francis asked.

He explained that, “Faith is born from listening, and is strengthened by proclamation.”

He likened the testimony of faith to a “great fresco” that is made up of “a variety of colors and shades,” all of which are “important, even those which do not stand out.”

“In God’s great plan, every detail is important, even yours, even my humble little witness, even the hidden witness of those who live their faith with simplicity in everyday family relationships, work relationships, friendships.”

He said that while the world is filled with “hidden” saints in the “middle class of holiness” in which “we can all belong,” many Christians throughout the world are suffering like Peter and the Apostles.

Whichever way we are called to follow Christ, the Holy Father said, we must remember “one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life.”

The Pope explained that “proclamation and witness” are only possible if we recognize Christ since he is the one who chose us and is calling us out.

As Christians, we must live out an intimate and  “intense relationship with Jesus” that comes from recognizing and worshiping Jesus as “the Lord.”

He posed the question of whether or not we worship the Lord. “Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him?” Or rather, do we “also turn to him to worship him?”

He explained that worshipping God “means learning to be with him” and not simply “trying to dialogue with him,” but rather, “sensing that his presence is the most true, the most good, the most important thing of all.”

In all of our lives, Pope Francis said, we either consciously or unconsciously “have a very clear order of priority concerning the things we consider important.”

“Worshipping the Lord,” he explained, “means giving him the place that he must have.”

Rather than clinging to the “many small or great idols” in our lives “on which we often seek to base our security,” Christians must strip ourselves of idols, “even the most hidden ones,” and choose God as the “center” or the “highway of our lives.”

The Holy Father asked for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Paul to “help us on this journey.”

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