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Hostility, persecution are natural for Christians, Pope says in homily

Catholic World News - April 04, 2014

Christians should not be surprised when they face hostility and persecution, because that “is the way of the Lord,” Pope Francis told his congregation at Mass on April 4.

Reflecting on the plots by the Pharisees against Jesus, the Pope remarked that, as Jesus said, the prophets of Israel “are all persecuted or misunderstood.” In the Church, too, “many of the saints have suffered persecution,” he observed, “because they were prophets.”

Pope Francis said that he was thinking of a man who was stripped of his teaching position, and his books placed on the Index, because of supposed heresy. But today the man is beatified, he said. (The Pope did not reveal the man’s identity, but said that he lived “not so long ago” and “not so far from us.”) Asking why a good man had been silenced, the Pope said: “It is because yesterday, those who had power wanted to silence him because they did not like what he was saying.”

The Pontiff said that there are more martyrs today than in the past: Christian heroes who “tell society in love with ease and desirous of avoiding problems.” He also spoke of societies in which it is illegal to own the Gospel, to teach the faith, or to gather for prayer.

Jesus is the model for all who suffer persecution, the Holy Father said, because he took upon himself “all the persecutions of his people.”

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