Source: Vatican News/WAD
During the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis reflected on the courage shown by the Apostles when they were dragged before the Sanhedrin to stand trial for preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ, in the day's reading (Acts 5:34-35,38,39). He said they spoke with conviction and with one voice in the face of their accusers, who wanted to imprison them and halt the spread of the Gospel.
The key to their courage, said the Pope, was the Holy Spirit. "The Apostles become the 'megaphone' of the Holy Spirit, sent by the Risen One to spread quickly and unhesitatingly the Word that brings salvation," he said.
Pope Francis said these same men had acted like "cowards" in the past, when Jesus faced similar circumstances. But after Pentecost, however, they were completely changed.
"The same happens to us," the Pope said. "If we have the Holy Spirit within us, we will have the courage to strive forward, to win countless battles - not through our own strength but through the Holy Spirit who is with us."
Pope went on to recall the 21 Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians who were martyred for their faith in 2015 on a beach in Libya, at the hands of IS/Daesh.
"Their last word was 'Jesus, Jesus'. They did not deny their faith, because the Holy Spirit was with them. Modern martyrs," he said.
The Pope Francis also reflect on the wise words of the doctor of the Law, Gamaliel. He urged the Sanhedrin to let the Apostles go, saying "if this endeavour is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God."
The Pope called his attitude "the art of discernment.. Every human project can first be approved and then end up shipwrecked," he said. "But everything that comes from above and bears the 'signature' of God is destined to last."
At the end of the audience Pope Francis remembered those affected by Alzheimer's and urged p and urged people to pray for them, their families and those who care for them.
World Alzheimer's Day will be observed on Saturday, 21 September. The Pope said it is "a disease that affects many men and women who often become victims of violence, maltreatment and abuse that trample their dignity."
"We pray for the conversion of hearts and for those affected by Alzheimer's, their families and those who care for them with love," Pope Francis said.
He also recalled "those suffering from cancer, so that they too may be increasingly supported, both in the prevention and in the treatment of this disease".
World Alzheimer's Day is an international campaign to raise awareness and highlight issues faced by people affected by the disease. Around 50 million people in the world suffer from various types of dementia - two-thirds of them have Alzheimer's.
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