Pope: The "dimensions" of being Christian are proclaiming Jesus, resisting persecution, praying

St. Paul's life shows the three attitudes that every Christian should share. The Apostle "had to fight so much". The first dimension of his life "is proclamation, apostolic zeal: to carry forward Jesus Christ," "the second is to suffer persecutions, struggles".

Jun 02, 2017

VATICAN CITY: The apostolic zeal to proclaim Jesus Christ, resistance to persecution and prayer to encounter the Lord. These are the three dimensions of St. Paul's life that every Christian should have said Pope Francis at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on today's passage from the Acts of the Apostles (22,30,23,6-11) in which Paul is brought before the Sanhedrin, and which emphasize precisely on the "three dimensions" of this "Paul's life on the move, always on the go."

The Pope noted that is difficult to imagine Paul sunbathing on a beach, resting. He is a man "who was always in motion, on the move".  The first dimension of the Apostle "is preaching, proclamation". Paul, commented, "goes from one side to another to proclaim Christ" and "when he is not preaching he is working." "But what is more, he is preaching: when he is called to preach and proclaim Jesus Christ, it is his passion! He never sat at his desk: no. He always is always on the move. Always carrying on the proclamation of Jesus Christ. He had a fire, a zeal ... an apostolic zeal that led him forward. And he did not pull back. Always forward. And this is one of the dimensions that led to him encountering difficulties."

The second dimension of Paul's life is "difficulties, more clearly persecutions". In today's First Reading we read that everyone is united in accusing him. Paul goes to judgment, because they consider him a "disturber of the peace". "And the Spirit inspired a bit of cunning in Paul and knew that they were not one, that there were so many internal struggles between them, and he knew that the Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection, which the Pharisees believed in him ... and he said aloud: Paul said: "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead." Immediately an argument broke out, the Pope noted, because these custodians of the Law were all divided in their beliefs. They had lost their faith, he said, because they had transformed their laws and doctrine into ideologies

Francis observed that they," were the guardians of the Law, the keepers of the doctrine of the People of God, the keepers of faith, ""but one believed one thing, the other another." These people "had lost the Law, lost their doctrine, lost their faith, because they had transformed it into ideology," "the same doctrine."

Saint Paul  therefore "had to fight this so much". Paul's first dimension of life, he said, "is the proclamation, apostolic zeal: to carry Jesus Christ," "the second is to suffer persecutions and struggles." Finally, the third is the prayer. "Paul had this intimacy with the Lord." " Once he says he was almost brought to the seventh heaven in prayer, and did not know how to describe the beautiful things he had heard there. But this wrestler, this proclaimer of an infinite horizon, had more of that mystical dimension of his encounter with Jesus. Paul's strength was this encounter with the Lord, who was praying, as was the first encounter on the path to Damascus, when he went to persecute Christians. Paul is the man who encountered the Lord, and never forgets this. He was a man of prayer".

These, he concluded, "are Paul's three attitudes that this passage teach us: apostolic zeal to proclaim Jesus Christ, resistance - resist persecution - and prayer: to meet with the Lord." And so, he said, Paul went on "among the persecutions of the world and the consolations of the Lord." "Let the Lord give us the grace to all of us baptized, the grace of learning these three attitudes in our Christian life: proclaiming Jesus Christ, resisting" the persecutions "and the seductions that lead you to disconnect from Jesus Christ, and the grace of  an encounter with Jesus Christ in prayer”.--Asia News

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Sunday Reflection

Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time: That woman is Ourselves

Mark calls her “a Greek” but Matthew uses the ancient name “Canaanite,” a reference to the original inhabitants of the Holy Land, who were conquered by the Israelites some twelve centuries before the time of Jesus. Matthew recognises that this encounter between the woman from the area of Tyre and Sidon and Jesus is about an outsider “wanting in.” So he heightens the drama by identifying her as a member of that group of pagans who were Israel’s first enemies (after the Egyptians, of course).