Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Santa Marta


Pope's Morning Homily: Nowadays Many Persecuted for a Little Crucifix

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Says Martyrs Carry the Church Forward

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There are more martyrs today than in the first ages, but we don’t hear about them because the media doesn’t consider them newsworthy. However, the martyrs and those being persecuted are the Church’s greatest strength…
According to Vatican Radio, these messages were at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, as he invited those in his chapel to remember those suffering martyrdom.
“Without memory, there is no hope,” the Pope said, basing his homily on the reading from the Letter to the Hebrews which dealt with other memories, such as that of the great works of the Lord, accomplished by Gideon, Barak, Samson, David, and those “who have done great things in the history of Israel.»
Martyrs Carry Church Forward
“The martyrs are those that carry the Church forward, they are those who support the Church, who have supported her [in the past] and [who] support her today.»
«And today there are more than in the first centuries,» the Pope said, lamenting, «The media doesn’t speak of them because they’re not newsworthy, but so many Christians in the world today are blessed because [they are] persecuted, insulted, incarcerated.»
The Pope invited those present to think of our brothers and sisters who today, in numbers greater than in the first ages, are suffering martyrdom.
Can’t Even Carry a Crucifix
«There are so many imprisoned,» the Pope decried, «solely for carrying a cross or for confessing Jesus Christ!»
The greatest strength of the Church of today, Francis said, is in the “little Churches” that are persecuted.
“And we too – it’s also true and just – we are satisfied when we see a great ecclesial act, which has great success, Christians who demonstrate… and this is beautiful! Is this strength? Yes, it’s strength. But the greatest strength of the Church today is in the little Churches, tiny, with few people, persecuted, with their Bishops in prison. This is our glory today, this is our glory and our strength.”
“A Church without martyrs – I would dare to say – is a church without Jesus.»
Pope Francis concluded reminding that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians and inviting faithful to pray “for our martyrs, who suffer so much… for those Churches that are not free to express themselves: they are our hope.»
«Let us offer this Mass for our martyrs, for those who are now suffering, for the Churches that suffer, who do not have liberty,» he said.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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