Saturday of the Fifth week of Easter
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first”
“Whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (Jn 12:25)... They contain a truth which today’s world often scorns and rejects, making love of self the supreme criterion of life. But the witnesses to the faith, who also this evening speak to us by their example, did not consider their own advantage, their own well-being, their own survival as greater values than fidelity to the Gospel. Despite all their weakness, they vigorously resisted evil. In their fragility there shone forth the power of faith and of the Lord’s grace.
The precious heritage which these courageous witnesses have passed down to us is a patrimony shared by all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities... The ecumenism of the martyrs and the witnesses to the faith is the most convincing of all; to the Christians of the twenty-first century it shows the path to unity. It is the heritage of the Cross lived in the light of Easter: a heritage which enriches and sustains Christians as they go forward into the new millennium...
In the century and the millennium just begun may the memory of these brothers and sisters of ours remain always vivid. Indeed, may it grow still stronger! Let it be passed on from generation to generation, so that from it there may blossom a profound Christian renewal! Let it be guarded as a treasure of consummate value for the Christians of the new millennium, and let it become the leaven for bringing all Christ’s disciples into full communion! ... I pray to the Lord that the cloud of witnesses which surrounds us (He 12:1) will help all of us who believe to express with no less courage our own love for Christ, for him who is ever alive in his Church: as he was yesterday, and is today, and will be tomorrow and for ever!