"Testimony and martyrdom, they are the same. You give witness in the small things, and some of them become big, giving one's life in martyrdom like the Apostles."
The Apostles didn't "take a course" on how to become a witness or study at a university, but they "they felt the Spirit inside and they followed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They were faithful to this."
However, even though they were faithful, they were still sinners, he said, adding that this goes for "all of them," and not just Judas.
Even the Apostles were envious and jealous of each other, he said, pointing to the Gospel scene where they fought about who was first among them, and when James and John had their mother come to Jesus and ask that they sit at his right and at his left.
The Apostles were even "traitors, because when Jesus was taken they all left, they hid, they were afraid," including Peter, the first Pope, who denied Jesus publicly.
However, despite their sins they were still able to bear witness because what they testified to was "the salvation Jesus brings, and all of them, with this salvation, were converted. They allowed themselves to be saved."
"To be a witness doesn't mean to be a Saint," but rather recognizing that "I'm a sinner, but Jesus is the Lord, and I bear witness to him. I try to do good every day, to correct my life, to go on the right path."
While the Apostles had many sins, Pope Francis noted that the only one they didn't have is to gossip and speak badly about each other.
When it comes to parish life, he said that "we are all sinners, but one community," and where there are gossipers, "a gossiping community is incapable of giving witness."
"I would say only this: do you want a perfect parish? Then no gossiping, no! If you have something to say to someone say it to their face, or to the pastor, but not among you," he said, explaining that what destroys a community, "like a worm, is gossip, from behind."
He then invited parishioners to make a commitment to hold their tongues whenever they feel tempted to gossip, because "a parish where there is no gossip is a perfect parish. It's parish of sinners, yes, but of witnesses, and this is the witness given by the first Christians."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
"Start with this," he said, and prayed that God would give them the gift and grace "to never speak about each other behind your backs."