Pope Francis, Homily for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross
Pope Francis, celebrating today the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross in Rome declared the French priest Jacques Hamel a martyr and blessed in the presence of his bishop and the faithful from his parish in Normandy. It's yet another instance of the enduring paradox of the Cross: the kenotic humiliation of the Word made flesh that accomplishes our salvation from the violence, hatred, lust for power and pride that tragically corrupts every human heart, by dying ignominiously on the Cross.
Armed only with the weapons of self-giving, self-sacrificing love and obedience to the will of the Father, Jesus by the Cross overthrew forever the powers of sin and death, so aptly characterized by Bl. Jacques as "satanic". How apt to remember Bl. Pere Jacques on this feast day.
Bl.Pere Jacques's killers were misguided, not only in their evil and hateful actions, but in their mistaken idea that hatred and violence made them powerful. Yes, they had the transitory power to frighten and hurt and kill, but as the martyrdom of Bl. Pere Jacques testifies to, the self-giving love of Jesus, who died on the Cross, even, (or especially) for his murderers, is where true power resides. The love of Jesus and of those who make up his Mystical Body, is a love which can never be overcome, never defeated, never killed, for it is the life-giving, eternal love of God.
It is to that undying and inexhaustible love that Bl. Pere Jacques Hamel was a faithful witness, in his life and in his death.
Blessed Pere Jacques, pray for us!