VATICAN CITY — During his June 23 Angelus reflection, Pope Francis said the faithful are called to follow the example of the martyrs in losing their lives for Christ, even if they do not suffer violence for their faith.
“Both in the past and today, in many parts of the world, there are martyrs, both men and women, who are imprisoned or killed for the sole reason of being Christian,” he said, noting that there are more martyrs dying violent deaths in modern times than in the early centuries of the Church.
“But there is also the daily martyrdom, which does not result in death but is also a loss of life for Christ.”
This “daily martyrdom” consists of people “doing their duty with love, according to the logic of Jesus,” said the Holy Father from the window of the Apostolic Palace to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
He delivered his Angelus comments reflecting on the day's Gospel reading, in which Jesus tells his disciples, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
Pope Francis stressed that there are fathers and mothers who put their faith into practice concretely by devoting their lives to the good of their families each day.
“There are many priests, monks, nuns who give generously with their service to the Kingdom of God and the young people who give up their interests to devote their time to children, the disabled and the elderly,” he stated.
“Those who serve the truth serve Christ,” he said.
The Pope also spoke of St. John the Baptist, whose feast day is June 24, and pointed to him as an example of a man who gave his life for the truth.
“John was chosen by God to prepare the way before Jesus,” he said, explaining that the saint “devoted himself entirely to God and his messenger” and ultimately died for the truth.
Pope Francis entreated everyone, particularly young people, to “have the courage to go against the tide of current values that do not conform to the path of Jesus.”