St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 24 February 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
This Sunday's Gospel (cf. Lk 6: 27-38) concerns a central and characterizing point of Christian life: love for enemies. The words of Jesus are clear: "To you who hear, I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly" (verses 27-28 ). And this is not an option, it's a command. It is not for everyone, but for the disciples, that Jesus calls "you who listen". He knows very well that loving the enemies goes beyond our possibilities, but for this he became a man: not to leave us as we are, but to transform ourselves into men and women capable of a greater love, that of his Father and ours . This is the love that Jesus gives to those who "listen" to him. And then it becomes possible! With him, thanks to his love, to his Spirit we can also love those who do not love us, even those who make us evil.
In this way, Jesus wants God's love to triumph over hatred and rancor in every heart. The logic of love, which culminates in the Cross of Christ, is the badge of the Christian and leads us to go out to meet everyone with a heart of brothers. But how is it possible to overcome human instinct and the worldly law of retaliation? The answer is given by Jesus on the same Gospel page: "Be merciful, as your Father is merciful" (verse 36). Whoever listens to Jesus, who strives to follow him even if it costs, becomes a child of God and begins to really resemble the Father in heaven. We become capable of things that we would never have thought we could say or do, and of which we would rather be ashamed, but instead now give us joy and peace. We no longer need to be violent, with words and gestures; we discover ourselves capable of tenderness and goodness; and we feel that all this does not come from us but from Him !, and therefore we do not boast about it, but we are grateful.
There is nothing greater and more fruitful than love: it gives the person all his dignity, while, on the contrary, hatred and revenge diminish it, disfiguring the beauty of the creature made in the image of God.
This command, to respond to insult and wrong with love, has generated a new culture in the world: the "culture of mercy - we must learn it well !, and practice it well this culture of mercy - which gives life to a true revolution »(Lett. Ap. Misericordia et misera, 20). It is the revolution of love, whose protagonists are the martyrs of all time. And Jesus assures us that our behavior, marked by love towards those who make us evil, will not be in vain. He says: "Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and you will be given [...], because with the measure with which you measure, it will be measured for you in return "(verses 37-38). This is nice. It will be a beautiful thing that God will give us if we are generous, merciful. We must forgive because God has forgiven us and he always forgives us. If we do not completely forgive, we can not pretend to be completely forgiven. Instead, if our hearts open to mercy, if forgiveness is sealed with a fraternal embrace and the bonds of communion are tightened, we proclaim before the world that it is possible to overcome evil with good. Sometimes it is easier for us to remember the wrongs they have done to us and the evils they have done us and not the good things; to the point that there are people who have this habit and become a disease. They are "collectors of injustice": they only remember the bad things they did. And this is not a road. We have to do the opposite, says Jesus. Remembering good things, and when someone comes with a chat, and speaks badly about the other, say: "But yes, maybe ... but he has this good ...". Reverse the speech. This is the revolution of mercy.
May the Virgin Mary help us to touch our hearts from this holy word of Jesus, burning like fire, transforming us and making us capable of doing good without reciprocation, doing good without reciprocation, witnessing everywhere the victory of love.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
This morning a very important meeting on the subject of child protection ended here in the Vatican. The Patriarchs, the Presidents of all the Episcopal Conferences, the Heads of the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Representatives of the Superiors and Superiors of the religious Congregations and several of my collaborators in the Roman Curia were convened.
As you know, the problem of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy has long provoked a serious scandal in the Church and in public opinion, both due to the tragic sufferings of the victims and to the unjustifiable inattention towards them and the covering the culprits by responsible people in the Church.
Since it is a widespread problem on every continent, I wanted to address it together, in a co-responsible and collegial way, we Pastors of the Catholic communities all over the world. We have heard the voice of the victims, we have prayed and asked God for forgiveness and offended people, we have become aware of our responsibilities, of our duty to do justice in the truth, to radically refuse all forms of abuse of power, conscience and sexuality.
We want all Church activities and places to always be fully safe for minors; that all possible measures are taken so that similar crimes are not repeated; that the Church returns to be absolutely credible and reliable in its mission of service and education for the little ones according to the teaching of Jesus.
In this way we will be able to collaborate with all our hearts and effectively, together with all people of good will and all the components and positive forces of society, in all countries and internationally, so that we fight to the end, in every its form, the very serious scourge of violence against hundreds of millions of children, girls and boys, girls and boys, all over the world.
I extend a cordial greeting to all of you pilgrims from Rome, Italy and various countries.
I greet the faithful of the diocese of Sevilla; those of Trieste, Agropoli and Venegono Inferiore.
I greet the group that came on the occasion of the "Rare Disease Day" and I hope that patients and their families will be adequately supported in the difficult path, both at a medical and legislative level.
And I wish you all a happy Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!