2015-05-17 14:07:00

Pope: Christians must be witnesses to Jesus' Resurrection

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis canonized four women religious on Sunday, all 19th century nuns who worked in education.

Listen to Christopher Wells' report: 

During Mass for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Pope Francis canonized four women religious: Marie-Alphonsine and Mary of Jesus Crucified from the territory that made up historical Palestine; Jeanne Emilie de Villeneuve of France; and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception from Italy.

In his homily for the Mass, the Holy Father focused on the first reading, from Acts, which told how after the Ascension, the twelve Apostles chose a man to take the place of Judas. Even today, we base our faith on the testimony of the Twelve, who were witnesses of Jesus’ Resurrection. In fact, every disciple of Jesus “is called “to become a witness to his resurrection, above all in those human settings where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident.”

Pope Francis identified several traits, exemplified by the new Saints, that are necessary for Christians to be witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. Christians, he said, must “remain in the risen Christ and in His love.” This is “the secret of the saints: abiding in Christ, joined to him like branches to the vine, in order to bear much fruit (cf. Jn 15:1-8). And this fruit is none other than love.”

The Holy Father said that “A relationship with the risen Jesus is the ‘atmosphere’ in which Christians live, and in which they find the strength to remain faithful to the Gospel, even amid obstacles and misunderstandings.” Ardent love for Christ allows His disciples to give themselves to others.

Authentic Christian witness also requires unity among the disciples. Jesus, on the eve of His Passion, prayed to God the Father that His disciples would be “one” just as the Trinity is one. This love leads us to live lives of service to one another.

“To abide in God and in his love, and thus to proclaim by our words and our lives the resurrection of Jesus, to live in unity with one another and with charity towards all. This is what the four women Saints canonized today did,” Pope Francis said. He concluded his homily with the prayer: “When we return home, let us take with us the joy of this encounter with the risen Lord.  Let us cultivate in our hearts the commitment to abide in God’s love. Let us remain united to him and among ourselves, and follow in the footsteps of these four women, models of sanctity whom the Church invites us to imitate.”

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