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Fidelity requires sacrifices, Pope says in homily at basilica

Catholic World News - April 15, 2013

Celebrating Mass on April 14 at the Roman basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, Pope Francis underlined in his homily the need for pastors to “let ourselves be carried by God’s will even where we would rather not go.”

Reflecting on the Scripture readings from the day’s Mass, the Pope noted that the apostles proclaimed the Gospel message “courageously, fearlessly” in the early days of the Church in Jerusalem. But he observed that their ability to bear witness was strengthened by their complete fidelity to God’s will. All pastors, he said, should strive to “bear witness to Christ with the gift of ourselves, unreservedly, not in a calculating way, sometimes even at the cost of our lives.”

In all cases, the Pope continued, fidelity carries some costs. However, he asked the faithful to bear in mind that “there are those who give their lives in order to remain faithful to Christ.” The Church should revere the martyrs, he said, while praying for those who face persecution.

For those in more comfortable circumstances, the Pope said, the quest for fidelity entails a constant willingness to check selfish impulses. “We have to empty ourselves of the many small or great idols that we have and in which we take refuge and upon which we often seek to base our security.”

The Pope was visiting St. Paul Outside-the-Walls for the first time since his election. He had already visited each of Rome’s other three leading basilicas: St. Mary Major (where he prayed on the day after his election), St. Peter’s, and St. John Lateran. He concelebrated the Mass with Cardinal James Harvey, the archpriest of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls.

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