“As they have persecuted me, they will persecute you too”. Noone is greater than the Master. To follow Jesus means having life, but can mean being martyred. The world these days, from Syria to Nigeria, from Pakistan to Iraq, many men and women, for simply praying in a mosque or in a Church, are being either massacred or killed in terrorist attacks.
I have just come back from a visit in Bangladesh to our mission in Khulna, a moderate Muslim town, though where, political movements are attempting to bring in fringe fundamentalists to destabilise it. In Iraq where two of our missionaries have just recently gone, Carlo and Marcello, there are attacks every week with dozens of people being killed. Pope Francis has said in the Angelus: “Christians are being persecuted and tortured for the simple fact they are believers, and the world wishes to hide away this fact. We have to be ready to lose our lives, donating it, so that mankind might be saved, so that we meet again in eternal harmony. There shall always be a cross in the middle, truly be put to the test, but in the end, it will bring us to happiness. Jesus does not deceive us.”
Christians who live in the world, are like the salt of the sea, that give flavour to daily life of all, welcoming all people in their own famillies above all the weak, starting from children to the most elderly. This would be a non-violent people who respond to provocative dialogues, the fraternal prayer, the common sharing of everything with everyone and not only with those of their own religion. We have to be Christians in the world, not only to proselytise but to fully live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of reconciliation and mercy, fraternità and forgiveness in the schools, in the hospitals, in the factories, in the countryside, in the courts, in the world of economy and politics.
Putting into practise justice and being merciful, walking hand in hand with God, bothers those who are fanatics and they pursue a logic of destruction of their neighbor whom they consider o be their enemy. It is as though there is an ongoing cosmic struggle between good and evil, between the children of the light and children of the dark. The Christian is not disillusioned, he knows that the price he has to pay could be that of giving his life above all for his enemies, those who hate him. Yet, none is a greater Love than that given on behalf of those who kill you, as occurred to the Master.
Maria, Queen of Peace, the Mother in whom we confide in, call on, let Her donate to us protection under her mantle
Translation provided by Marina Stronati