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Pope Francis: audience, “Jesus was hated by his opponents”

“Jesus was hated by his opponents, just as Paul was”. Pope Francis made these off-the-cuff remarks in the catechesis of his general audience today, as he focused on the account of Paul taken as a prisoner to King Agrippa in the Acts of the Apostles. “St Paul’s testimony is increasingly marked by suffering”, Pope Francis began: “This is something that grows over time in the life of Paul”, he added off the cuff, explaining that “Paul is not only an evangeliser full of enthusiasm, a courageous missionary who gives birth to new Christian communities among the pagans, but also a suffering witness to the Risen One”. “The Apostle’s arrival in Jerusalem, described in chapter 21 of the Acts, unleashes fierce hatred against him”, the Pope explained: “Jerusalem is a hostile city to him, just as it was to Jesus. He goes to the Temple, is recognized, is led out to be lynched, and is only just rescued by the Roman soldiers. Accused of preaching against the Law and the Temple, he is arrested and taken as a prisoner first to the Sanhedrin, then to the Governor Felix in Caesarea, and finally to King Agrippa”. “Luke brings out the similarity between Paul and Jesus, both hated by their opponents, publicly accused and found innocent by the imperial authorities”. “Paul is therefore associated with the passion of his Master, and his passion becomes a living gospel. Paul is called to defend himself from the accusations, and finally, in the presence of King Agrippa, his self-defence becomes an effective witness to the faith”.

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