By Junno Arocho Esteves- VATICAN CITY, June 24, 2013Zenit.org – During his weekly Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on what he described as Christ’s “most incisive statements:’Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it’. Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to listen to the Holy Father’s words.
The Holy Father noted the lives of martyrs as the perfect example of Jesus’ words from the Gospel of St. Luke, saying that losing one’s life Jesus’ sake could only happen one of two ways: by either confessing the faith or defending the truth.
“The martyrs are the supreme example of losing one’s life for Christ,” the Pope said. “In two thousand years there has been a great multitude of men and women who have sacrificed their life to remain faithful to Christ and his Gospel.”
“And today, in many parts of the world there are many, many – more than in previous centuries – many martyrs, who give their life for Christ, who are put to death for not rejecting Christ. This is our Church. Today we have more martyrs than in the previous centuries!”
Pope Francis noted however that death is not the only means in losing one’s life for Christ, citing the examples of parents who sacrifice their wants for the good of their families, as well as priests, brothers and sisters who generously carry out their service. The Holy Father also cited the example of young people who “renounce their own interests to care for children, the disabled, and the elderly.”
“They too are martyrs! Daily martyrs, martyrs of daily life!” the Pope exclaimed.
“And then there are many people,” the Holy Father continued, “Christians and non-Christians, who “lose their life” for truth. And Christ said, “I am the truth,” so whoever serves the truth serves Christ.One of these people, who gave his life for the truth, is John the Baptist. In fact,tomorrow, June 24, is his great feast, the solemnity of his birth. John was chosen by God to prepare the way for Jesus, and he pointed him out to the people of Israel as the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
The Pope went on to say that following John’s example of going against the current for the sake of the truth, while appealing to the faithful gathered to “not have fear to go against the current.”
“We must go against the current! And you young people, you must be the first: Go against the current and be proud to go against the current. Forward, be courageous and go against the current! Be proud to do it!” the Holy Father exclaimed.
Pope Francis concluded his address before reciting the Angelus, calling on those gathered to put the example of St. John the Baptist’s life into practice as well of the Blessed Mother who “lost her life for Jesus, going to the cross, and she received it [back] in fullness, with all the light and beauty of the Resurrection.”