In what was perhaps the most powerful passage of his inspiring and challenging homily, Francis reminded the new archbishops and Christians worldwide that “everything passes; only God remains.” Indeed, he said, “kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ. Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul.”Share
He recalled that throughout history, from the very first days of Christianity, “In the name of Christ, believers have raised the dead; they have healed the sick; they have loved their persecutors; they have shown how there is no power capable of defeating the one who has the power of faith!”
Pope Francis spoke these inspiring words during the solemn celebration on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the patron saints of the Church in Rome, at a mass attended by relatives and friends of the new archbishops, as well as cardinals, bishops, priests, women and men religious, 8,000 faithful from all continents, and ambassadors from many of the 180 countries that have diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
In his homily, drawing on the heroic witness of the Christian community yesterday and today in the face of persecution, he called on the new metropolitan archbishops to live their lives consonant with this glorious tradition of the Church’s martyrs.
He began by recalling how the first Christian community was “besieged by persecution,” James was executed and Peter was arrested. But, he said, “I do not wish to dwell on these atrocious, inhuman and incomprehensible persecutions, sadly still present in many parts of the world, often under the silent gaze of all.” (Read more.)