The Pope stated, "The martyrdom of Christians is not a thing of the past, but many of them are victims even today," during his daily morning mass at Casa Santa Marta today.
After meditating on the life and death of John the Baptist, which was recounted in today's Gospel of St. Mark, Francis stressed how John never betrayed his vocation and was intent, even if it cost him his life, to proclaim the closeness of the Messiah.
Saying he gets 'emotional' when he reads this passage, the Holy Father denounced how John was killed by a corrupt king and how today many are slaughtered for their love of Christ.
The Pontiff lamented how John's life ended under the authority of "this mediocre, drunk and corrupt king, at the whim of a dancer and the vindictive hatred of an adulteress."
When reading this passage, the Pope said he thinks of "two things": our martyrs and how no one can buy their lives.
"I think of our martyrs, the martyrs of our times, men, women, children who are being persecuted, hated, driven out of their homes, tortured, massacred," he said, noting, "And this is not a thing of the past: this is happening right now."
The Pope said, "It would do us good to think of our martyrs. Today, we remember Paolo Miki, but that happened in 1600," he said, urging those present to, "Think of our present-day ones! Of 2015."
He went on to reflect on how no one's life can be bought. He said, “This abasement of John the Great, this ongoing slide into nothingness makes me think that all of us are on this road and we are travelling towards the land, where we will all end up."
"This makes me think of myself: I too will meet my end," Francis said, adding, "We all will."
"All of us, willingly or unwillingly, are travelling on the road of the existential annihilation of life, and this," the Holy Father concluded, "makes me pray that this annihilation is as similar as possible to that of Jesus Christ."