There are worldly powers that want religion to be simply a private matter and today’s persecuted Christians are a sign of the trials that precede Jesus’ final coming - Pope Francis said in his homily during Mass on Thursday morning at the Casa Santa Marta
In the final battle between God and evil that we read in the liturgy these days, there’s a trap which Pope Francis calls “universal temptation.” It’s the temptation to give in to the deceitful ways of those against God. But those with true faith can look to Jesus for the strength to withstand the insidiousness of evil. Jesus, who endured insults and lies in his public life and the trials of evil in the desert, bore them to his death on the Cross. But, as Prince of Peace, Jesus triumphed over the prince of the world through the Resurrection.
In his homily, Pope Francis pointed to these events in Christ’s life because, he said, as we hear the Gospel recount the tumultuous time of the end of the world, we become aware that the victory of the prince of the world over God would be worse than a devastating natural disaster.
“When Jesus speaks of this calamity in another passage, he tells us that it will be a profanation of the temple, a profanation of the faith, of the people: it will be an abomination; it will be desolation and abomination. What does this mean? It will be like the victory of the prince of this world: the defeat of God.”
Today, the Pope observed, people are discouraged from speaking of religion in public. “It’s something private, no?” It’s something you don’t talk about in public, he said, pointing to the fact that religious objects have become taboo.
“One has to obey the orders that come from worldly powers. One can do many things, nice things, but not adore God. It’s forbidden to worship. This is at the heart of the “end of times.” It is when this pagan attitude reaches its height, that’s when the end times will come, the Pope stressed. This is when the Son of man will return in glory.
“Christians who suffer times of persecution, times forbidding worship,” are a prophetic sign, the Pope said, of “what will happen to everyone.” “This week it will do us good to think about this general apostasy which is called a ban on worship and ask ourselves: ‘Do I worship the Lord? Do I adore Jesus Christ the Lord? Do I in some measure play the game of the prince of this world?’ Worship to the end with trust and fidelity,” the Pope said, “this is the grace that we must ask for this week.”
Source: Vatican Radio/VIS
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