Being a ‘saint’ in the everyday, ordinary things is what the Church needs.
Pope Francis suggested this during his daily morning Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, reported Vatican Radio.
In his homily, the Pope said, “The saints of ordinary life, and the martyrs of today that carry the Church forward,” stressing they do so “with their consistent and courageous witness to the Risen Christ, thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit.”
Courageous Peter Has Nothing in Common With ‘Denying Peter’
The Holy Father drew inspiration from the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles which speaks of the Apostle Peter’s courage to preach the Gospel before the leaders of the Sanhedrin, who wasn’t deterred by the fact that they subsequently felt provoked to put him to death.
This “courageous” Peter, Pope Francis said, has nothing in common with “Peter the coward” who denied Christ three times on the night of Holy Thursday. Francis stressed that now Peter is strong in his testimony.
In one way or another, he said, the Christian “puts his life on the line” by giving true witness, as Christian witness follows Jesus’ example.
“Consistency between our life and what we have seen and heard is indeed the beginning of witness. But there’s something else to Christian witness; it’s not just giving it.
Christian witness, the Pope reminded those in his chapel, always has two parts.
‘We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit.’ Without the Holy Spirit, there is no Christian witness – because Christian witness, the Christian life, is a grace, it is a grace that the Lord gives us with the Holy Spirit.”
Without the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis continued, “we cannot be witnesses.” The true witness is the person who is consistent “in what he says, what he does, and what he has received,” namely the Holy Spirit. “This is Christian courage, this is the witness.”
Witness of Today’s Martyrs
“It is the witness of our martyrs of today – so many! – chased out of their homeland, driven away, having their throats cut, persecuted: they have the courage to confess Jesus even to the point of death.
“It is the witness of those Christians who live their life seriously, and who say: ‘I can’t do this; I cannot do evil to another; I cannot cheat; I cannot lead life halfway, I have to give my witness.’ And the witness consists in saying what has been seen and heard in faith, namely, the Risen Jesus, with the Holy Spirit that has been received as a gift.”
In history’s most difficult moments, Pope Francis said, people often say “our country needs heroes – and this is true, this is right.” Yet, the Pope asked, “What does the Church need today? It needs witnesses, martyrs”:
“These are the witnesses, that is, the saints, the saints of everyday, of ordinary life, but life [lived with] consistency; and also the witness ‘to the end,’ even to death. These are the life blood of the Church; these are the ones that carry the Church forward, the witnesses, who attest that Jesus is Risen, that Jesus is alive, and they bear witness through the consistency of their life, with the Holy Spirit they have received as a gift.”