Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Monday 05 December |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Niels Stenson
Aleteia logo
Spirituality
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Our Brother Copts Are Slain Because They Are Christian, Pope Francis Says in Daily Homily

Pope Francis – Prayer Vigil with Pope Francis ahead of Synod

© Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

Diane Montagna - published on 02/17/15

Our children are slain in abortion because they are unwanted.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis offered Holy Mass on Tuesday morning for the repose of the souls of the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians martyred by beheading for their faith in Christ. In his homily, the Pope decried the evil of slaying Christians through terrorism and, closer to home, the evil of slaying children through abortion.

This morning’s liturgy was attended by the Pope’s personal secretary, Abuna Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, who is Coptic Catholic. 

As he prepared to begin Mass in the Santa Marta Chapel, Pope Francis invited those present to join him in prayer for “our brother Copts, whose throats were slit for the sole reason of being Christian, that the Lord welcome them as martyrs, for their families, and for my brother Tawadros [the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch], who is suffering greatly”, Vatican Radio reported today.

Invoking the psalms, he then prayed: “Be my protector, O God, a mighty stronghold to save me. For you are my rock, my stronghold! Lead me; guide me, for the sake of your name”. (cf. Ps 31 (30): 3-4).

Pope made a personal telephone call to Patriarch Tawadros, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, on Monday evening, to express his sorrow and condolences over the brutal beheading on the coast of Libya. 

Reflecting in today’s homily on the Genesis account of God’s wrath at man’s wickedness — the prelude to the Flood —the Pope spoke of man’s capacity for evil and destruction and he condemned what he called the “merchants of death”, i.e. business people who sell arms to those at war, furthering a cycle of hatred, fratricide and violence.    

The Pope noted with regret that man “seems to be more powerful than God”, since he is capable of destroying the good things that God has made.

Man is capable of destroying fraternity

Pope Francis then pointed out the examples we find in the Book of Genesis — Sodom and Gomorrah, the Tower of Babel — in which man reveals his wickedness, “an evil that lurks in the depths of the heart.”

Some people would urge me not to be so negative, the Pope said. But he responded: “This is the truth. We are also capable of destroying fraternity: Cain and Abel in the first pages of the Bible destroy fraternity. This is where wars begin. Jealousy, envy, so much greed for power, to have more power.” 

“Yes, this sounds negative,” he said boldly. “But it is realistic. You only have to pick up a newspaper, any newspaper — left-wing, center, right-ring … whatever. And you will see that more than 90% of the news is news of destruction. More than 90%. We see this every day”.

Pope Francis then asked: “What is happening in man’s heart?". He said Jesus reminds us that “from within, out of the heart of man, comes evil. Our "weak heart is wounded”, he said.

Merchants of death sell arms to those who are at war

Pope Francis then observed that man always “desires autonomy”: “I do what I want and if I want to do something, I will! So, if I want to make war, I will!”

“Why are we like this? Because we are capable of destruction, that’s the problem. There are wars, there is arms trafficking … ‘But, we are businessmen!’ Yes, but of what? Of death? And there are countries that sell weapons, are at war with one side but also selling weapons to them, so that the war continues.” 

“The capacity for destruction. It’s not coming from our neighbors: it’s coming from us!” he said. “‘Every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually’. Everyone has this seed within, this possibility, but we also have the Holy Spirit who saves us! We must choose, in the little things”.

Pope Francis then warned against using gossip or slander against our neighbor: “Even in parishes and associations”, “jealousy” and “envy” can push people to go to their pastor to speak ill of others. He warned: “This is evil and we all have this ability to destroy”. 

As Lent begins, he said, the Church “invites us to reflect on this”. Pointing to today’s Gospel where Jesus rebukes the disciples who are arguing among themselves about having forgotten to bring bread. The Lord tells them to “watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod”.  He gives the example of two people: Herod who “is bad, a murderer, and the Pharisees who are hypocrites.” 

In doing so, Jesus reminds them of the breaking of the five loaves and urges them to think instead of salvation, of what God has done for us all. Pope Francis noted, however, that “they did not understand, because their hearts were hardened by this passion, by this evil need to argue among each other and see who was guilty of having forgotten the bread”.

Choosing to do good thanks to the strength Jesus gives us

We have to take the Lord’s message “seriously,” Pope Francis said. 

“There is nothing strange in this, these are not the words of a Martian”, “man is able to do so much good”, he said citing the example of Mother Teresa, “a woman of our time.”  

All of us, he said, “are capable of doing good, but we are also all capable of destruction; destruction great and small and even within our own family.  [We are capable of destroying] our children”, not allowing them to grow “in freedom, not helping them to mature; eliminating our children”.  We are capable of this and this means that we need constantly to “meditate, pray, discuss things with each other, so as not to fall into this evil that destroys everything.”

“We have the strength,” he said. “Jesus reminds us. Remember. He says to us today: ‘Remember. Remember Me, I shed my blood for you; remember Me, I have saved you, I have saved you all; Remember Me, I have the strength to accompany you on life’s journey, not on the path of evil, but on the path of goodness, of doing good to others; not the path of destruction, but the path that builds: builds a family, builds a city, builds a culture, builds a home and much, much more.”

During Lent, we pray not to be misled by temptations

The Pope concluded: “Let us ask the Lord, today, before the beginning of Lent, for this grace: always to choose the right path with his help and not to be misled by temptations down the wrong path.”

All of us, he said, “are capable of doing good, but we are also all capable of destruction; destruction great and small and even within our own family.  [We are capable of destroying] our children”, not allowing them to grow “in freedom, not helping them to mature; eliminating our children”.  We are capable of this and this means that we need constantly to “meditate, pray, discuss things with each other, so as not to fall into this evil that destroys everything.”

“We have the strength,” he said. “Jesus reminds us. Remember. He says to us today: ‘Remember. Remember Me, I shed my blood for you; remember Me, I have saved you, I have saved you all; Remember Me, I have the strength to accompany you on life’s journey, not on the path of evil, but on the path of goodness, of doing good to others; not the path of destruction, but the path that builds: builds a family, builds a city, builds a culture, builds a home and much, much more.”

During Lent, we pray not to be misled by temptations

The Pope concluded in prayer: “Let us ask the Lord, today, before the beginning of Lent, for this grace: always to choose the right path with his help and not to be misled by temptations down the wrong road.”

Diane Montagnais Rome correspondent for Alteteia’s English edition.

Tags:
AbortionIslamist MilitantsPope Francis
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

jour1_V2.gif
Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...







Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries


Top 10
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here. It's Free!