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Fr. Ron's Blog

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Dear Friends,
Last Wednesday, the Church celebrated the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, and with it, the founding of the Church of Rome.
On a similar occasion, a couple of years ago, Pope Francis delivered a homily on the lessons of those two great saints, as those lessons apply to us today. Following are excerpts from those words, as they appeared in last Wednesday’s Magnificat, which I found very inspiring. I hope you will as well.

“I do not wish to dwell on the atrocious, inhuman and incomprehensible persecutions, sadly still present in many parts of the world today, often under the silent gaze of all. I would like instead to pay homage today to the courage of the Apostles (Peter and Paul) and that of the first Christian community. This courage carried forward the work of evangelization, free of fear of death and martyrdom, within the social context of a pagan empire; their Christian life is for us, the Christians of today, a powerful call to prayer, to faith and to witness.

A call to prayer: the first community was a Church at prayer: ‘Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church (Acts 12:5). And if we think of Rome, the catacombs were not places to escape from persecution but rather, they were places of prayer, for sanctifying the Lord’s day and for raising up, from the heart of the earth, adoration to God who never forgets his sons and daughters.

The community of Peter and Paul teaches us that the Church at prayer is a Church on her feet, strong, moving forward! Indeed, a Christian who prays is a Christian who is protected, guarded and sustained, and above all, who is never alone…
A call to faith…How many forces in the course of history have tried, and still do, to destroy the Church, from without as well as within, but they themselves are destroyed and the Church remains alive and fruitful! She remains inexplicably solid, so that, as Saint Paul says, she may acclaim: To him be glory for ever and ever (2 Tim 4:18).

Everything passes, only God remains. Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to popes, bishops, priests, not the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ. Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul.
In the name of Christ, believers have raised the dead; they have healed the sick; they have loved their persecutors; they have shown how there is no power capable of defeating the one who has the power of faith.

A call to witness: Peter and Paul, like all the Apostles of Christ who in their earthly life sowed the seeds of the Church by their blood, drank the Lord’s cup and became friends of God.

A Church or a Christian who does not give witness is sterile, like a dead person who thinks they are alive, like a dried up tree that produces no fruit, an empty well that offers no water! The Church has overcome evil thanks to the courageous, con-crete and humble witness of her children. She has conquered evil thanks to proclaiming with conviction; You are the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt 16:13-18).

There is no witness with a coherent lifestyle! Today there is no great need for masters, but for courageous witnesses, who are convinced and convincing, witnesses who are not ashamed of the Name of Christ and of his cross, not before the roaring
lions, nor before the powers of this world. And this follows the example of Peter and Paul and so many other witnesses who, yet belonging to different Christian confessions, have contrib-uted to demonstrating and bringing growth to the one Body of Christ.” (Pope Francis)

God Bless,
Fr. Ron
P.S. A happy & relaxing 4th of July.

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