Pope Francis says "Go beyond instinct, go beyond hatred. Jesus says: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" FULL TEXT + Video
POPE FRANCIS at the ANGELUS
St. Peter's Square - Sunday, February 20, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In today's Gospel of the Liturgy Jesus gives the disciples some fundamental indications of life. The Lord refers to the most difficult situations, those that constitute the test bed for us, those that put us in front of those who are our enemies and hostiles, those who always try to harm us. In these cases the disciple of Jesus is called not to give in to instinct and hatred, but to go further, much further. Go beyond instinct, go beyond hatred. Jesus says: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" ( Lk 6:27). And even more concrete: "To anyone who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also" (v. 29).
When we hear this, it seems to us that the Lord is asking the impossible. Besides, why love enemies? If you do not react to bullies, every abuse is given the green light, and this is not fair. But is it really so? Does the Lord really ask of us things that are impossible , indeed unjust ? Is that so?
Let us first consider that sense of injustice that we feel in "turning the other cheek". And let us think of Jesus. During the passion, in his unfair trial before the high priest, at a certain point he receives a slap in the face from one of the guards. And how does He behave? He doesn't insult him, no, he says to the guard: “If I've spoken badly, show me where the evil is. But if I spoke well, why are you beating me? " ( Jn 18:23). He asks for an account of the evil received. Turning the other cheek does not mean suffering in silence, giving in to injustice. With his question Jesus denounces what is unjust. But he does it without anger, without violence, indeed with kindness . He doesn't want to spark an argument, but to defuse resentment, this is important: extinguish hatred and injustice together, trying to recover the guilty brother. This is not easy, but Jesus did it and he tells us to do it too. This is turning the other cheek: Jesus' meekness is a stronger response than the blow he received. Turning the other cheek is not the fallback of the loser, but the action of one who has greater inner strength. Turning the other cheek is to overcome evil with good, which opens a breach in the heart of the enemy, exposing the absurdity of his hatred. And this attitude, this turning the other cheek, is not dictated by calculation or hatred, but by love. Dear brothers and sisters, it is the gratuitous and undeserved love that we receive from Jesus that generates in the heart a way of doing similar to his, which rejects all revenge. We are used to revenge: "You did this to me,
We come to the other objection: is it possible for a person to come to love his enemies? If it were up to us alone, it would be impossible. But let's remember that when the Lord asks for something, he wants to give it. The Lord never asks us for something that He does not give us before. When he tells me he loves enemies, he wants to give me the ability to do so. Without that ability we could not, but He tells you "he loves the enemy" and he gives you the ability to love. Saint Augustine prayed like this - listen to what a beautiful prayer this is -: Lord, "give me what you ask and ask me what you want" ( Confessions, X, 29.40), because you gave it to me earlier. What to ask him? What is God happy to give us? The strength to love, which is not a thing, but the Holy Spirit. The strength to love is the Holy Spirit, and with the Spirit of Jesus we can respond to evil with good, we can love those who harm us. So do Christians. How sad it is when people and peoples proud of being Christians see others as enemies and think of making war! It's very sad.
And we, do we try to live the invitations of Jesus? Let's think about a person who has hurt us. Everyone thinks of a person. It is common that we have suffered harm from someone, we think about that person. Maybe there is a grudge within us. So, alongside this rancor we place the image of Jesus, meek, during the trial, after the slap. And then we ask the Holy Spirit to act in our hearts. Finally, let us pray for that person: pray for those who have harmed us (cf. Lk6.28). When they have done something bad to us, we immediately go and tell others and we feel victims. Let us stop, and pray to the Lord for that person, to help him, and so this feeling of resentment disappears. Praying for those who have treated us badly is the first thing to transform evil into good. Prayer. May the Virgin Mary help us to be peacemakers towards everyone, especially towards those who are hostile to us and do not like us.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters!
I express my closeness to the populations hit in recent days by natural disasters, I am thinking in particular of the south-east of Madagascar, plagued by a series of cyclones, and of the Petropolis area in Brazil, devastated by floods and landslides. May the Lord welcome the dead into his peace, comfort family members and support those who help.
Today is the National Day of Health Personnel and we must remember many doctors, nurses and nurses, volunteers, who are close to the sick, treat them, make them feel better, help them. "Nobody saves himself", said the title in the program "In His Image". Nobody saves himself alone. And in sickness we need someone to save us, to help us. A doctor told me this morning that a person was dying in the time of Covid and told him: "Take me by the hand I'm dying and I need his hand". The heroic medical staff, who showed this heroicity in the time of Covid, but the heroicity remains every day. To our doctors, nurses, nurses, volunteers a round of applause and a big thank you!
I warmly greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from Italy and from various countries.
In particular, I greet the faithful of Madrid, Segovia, Burgos and Valladolid, in Spain - so many Spaniards! -; as well as those of the parish of Santa Francesca Cabrini in Rome and the students of the Institute of the Sacred Hearts of Barletta.
I greet and encourage the “Progetto Arca” group, which in recent days has inaugurated its social activity in Rome, to help homeless people. And I greet the children of the Immaculate Conception, so good!
I wish everyone a happy Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye.