During his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke about persecuted Christians. He specifically mentioned the Coptic Christians who were executed by the Islamic State on a Libyan beach simply because they were baptized.
"Thanks to the strength given them by the Holy Spirit they were not scandalized. They died with the name of Jesus on their lips. This is the strength of the Spirit. The testimony. Martyrdom is the supreme testimony.”
Pope Francis explained that martyrdom is a heightened dimension of the Christian life. He further regretted that those who kill Christians do so thinking that it pleases their God.
EXCERPTS FROM THE POPE'S HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)
"Today we are seeing those who kill Christians in the name of God because they think they are not believers. This is Christ’s Cross: ‘They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me’. This happened to me – Jesus says – it will happen to you too – the persecutions, the tribulations – but do not be scandalized: the Holy Spirit will guide us and help us understand”.
"I was remembering the faithful of his Church who were slain on the beach because they were Christians. Thanks to the strength given them by the Holy Spirit they were not scandalized. They died with the name of Jesus on their lips. This is the strength of the Spirit. The testimony. Martyrdom is the supreme testimony”.
"A Christian who does not take the dimension of martyrdom seriously in life does not understand the road that Jesus has indicated: a road that invites us to bear witness every day, defending the rights of others; defending our children; mothers and fathers who defend their family; so many sick people who bear witness and suffer for the love of Jesus. All of us have the possibility of bringing forward this life-giving Easter message, bearing witness, without being scandalized”.
"Let us ask the Lord for the grace to receive the Holy Spirit who will remind us of Jesus’ words, who will guide us in truth throughout our lives and prepare us to bear witness in our lives, with small every day martyrdoms, or with a great martyrdom, according to God’s will”.