VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God sends his consolation to those in need of reassurance, even when they are facing death, Pope Francis said.
Just like the early Christian martyrs, who sang as they marched to their deaths in the Colosseum, today’s martyrs still give witness to that same joy in the midst of suffering, the pope said in his homily Dec. 11 during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.
“I think of the good Coptic workers on the beach of Libya, slaughtered. They died saying, ‘Jesus, Jesus!’ There is a consolation within, a joy even in the moment of martyrdom,” he said.
In his homily, the pope reflected on the day’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah, in which God sends his messenger to “give comfort to my people” and “speak tenderly to Jerusalem.”
This tenderness, the pope explained, is “a language that the prophets of doom do not know.”
“It is a word erased from all the vices that drive us away from the Lord: clerical vices, the vices of a few Christians who do not move, who are lukewarm. They are afraid of tenderness,” he said.
However, tenderness is precisely what God uses to console his people, like a shepherd who carries a lamb or a mother comforting her child, the pope said.
Pope Francis called on Christians to prepare for Christmas by praying for God’s consolation, especially in times of suffering, “because it is a gift from God.”
God, he said, “is at the door. He knocks so that we may open our hearts and let ourselves be consoled and be at peace. And he does so gently: he knocks with caresses.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103