(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday urged Christians to have the courage to announce the good news about Jesus, just like the Apostles who testified to Christ’s resurrection even at the cost of their lives. The Pope’s words came during his morning Mass at the Santa Marta residence where he said announcing the Gospel, intercession and hope are the three interlinked dimensions of a Christian life. Friday (April 22nd) marked the 43rd anniversary of the religious profession of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
In his homily Pope Francis reflected on the three lynchpins that he said should mark the life of a believer: announcing the Gospel, intercession and hope. The heart of this announcement for a Christian, he explained, is that Jesus died and rose from the dead for our salvation. This, he continued, is what the Apostles did before the Jews and the pagans and their testimony was made even at the cost of their lives, their own blood.
“When John and Peter were brought before the Sanhedrin after the healing of the crippled man and the priests forbade them to mention the name of Jesus, the Resurrection, they courageously and simply said: ‘We cannot stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard,’ - the announcement. And we Christians through our faith have the Holy Spirit inside us that makes us see and listen to the truth about Jesus who was put to death for our sins and who rose again. This is the announcement of our Christian life. Christ is alive! Christ is risen! Christ is among us in the community and accompanies us on our journey.”
Turning next to the question of intercession, Pope Francis reminded his listeners that just as Jesus told his Apostles at the last Supper, He is praying for us and preparing us a place in the house of the Lord.
“What does this mean? How does Jesus prepare this place? By praying for each one of us. Jesus prays for us and this is his intercession. At this moment, Jesus is working by praying for us. Just as he told Peter one time before the passion, ‘Peter, I prayed for you.’ In the same way, Jesus is now the intercessor between the Father and us.”
The Pope went on to explain how Jesus intercedes for us by showing his wounds to the Father after the Resurrection and names each one of us to Him. This, he said, is Jesus’ prayer and his intercession on our behalf.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis touched on the third dimension of a Christian life: hope. “A Christian,” he declared, “is a woman or a man of hope who hopes that the Lord will return.” All the Church is waiting for the coming of Jesus who will return and this is “Christian hope.”
“Each one of us, let’s ask ourselves: How is the announcement (of Jesus) in my life? How is my relationship with Jesus who intercedes for me? And how is my hope? Do I truly believe that the Lord is risen? Do I believe that he prays to the Father on my behalf? Each time that I call him, He is praying for me, He is interceding. Do I truly believe that He will return, that He will come? It would do us good to ask ourselves these (questions) about our faith: Do I believe in the announcement of Jesus’ good news? Do I believe in his intercession? Am I a man or a woman of hope?”