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Martyrdom is the most powerful witness, Pope says in homily

May 06, 2014

Reflecting on the martyrdom of St. Stephen, in his homily at Mass on May 6, Pope Francis said that the calls for Stephen’s death were motivated by “the devil’s hatred of Christ.”

Martyrdom, the Pope said, occurs when “the devil cannot stand seeing the sanctity of a church or the sanctity of a person, without trying to do something.” St. Stephen was a powerful witness to Christ, provoking that reaction, he said.

The Pope stressed that every Christian should bear witness to the faith. The Church, he said, is not a “school of religion,” but a community devoted to Christ, and bringing others to Christ. “The Christian who does not bear witness is sterile,” he said. Martyrdom is the most powerful form of bearing witness, a complete sacrifice of one's life to the cause of Christ.

Pope Francis ended his homily with a challenge for his congregation, suggesting that each Christian should ask himself: “Am I fruitful because I bear witness, or sterile because unable to let the Holy Spirit lead me forward in my Christian vocation?"


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