#PopeFrancis Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” #Angelus - FULL TEXT + Video
Before the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 5:38-48) – one of those pages that expresses best the Christian “revolution” – Jesus shows the way of true justice through the law of love, which surmounts that of retaliation, namely, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This ancient rule imposed inflicting on transgressors punishments equivalent to the damages caused: death to one who killed, amputation to one who wounded someone, and so on. Jesus does not ask His disciples to suffer evil, rather, He asks them to react, but not with another evil, but with goodness. Only thus is the chain of evil broken: an evil leads to another evil, another evil leads to another evil … This chain of evil is broken, and things truly change. Evil in fact is a “void,” a void of goodness, and it cannot be filled with another void, but only with “fullness,” namely, with goodness. Reprisals never lead to the resolution of conflicts. “You did it to me, I’ll do it to you”: this never resolves a conflict, nor is it Christian.
For Jesus the rejection of violence can also imply giving up a legitimate right; and He gives some examples: to give the other cheek, to give one’s cloak or one’s money, to accept other sacrifices (cf. vv. 39-42). However, this renunciation does not mean that the demands of justice are ignored or contradicted; on the contrary, Christian love, which manifests itself in a special way in mercy, represents a higher realization of justice. What Jesus wants to teach us is the clear distinction we must make between justice and retaliation – to distinguish between justice and retaliation. Retaliation is never just; we are permitted to ask for justice; it is our duty to practice justice. Instead, we are prohibited from vindicating ourselves and from fomenting retaliation in some way, in as much as <it is an> expression of hatred and of violence.
Jesus does not wish to propose a new civil rule, but rather the commandment to love our neighbor, which also includes love of enemies: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (v. 44). And this is not easy. This word is not understood as approval of the evil done by an enemy, but as an invitation in a higher, a magnanimous perspective, similar to that of the heavenly Father, who – Jesus says — “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (v. 45). In fact, an enemy is also a human person, created as such in the image of God, even if at present this image is obfuscated by unworthy conduct.
When we speak of “enemies” we must not think, perhaps, of those persons who are different and distant from us; we speak also of ourselves, who can enter in conflict with our neighbor, at times with our relatives. How many enmities there are in families, how many! Enemies are those also who speak badly of us, who calumniate us and do us wrongs. And it is not easy to digest this. We are called to respond to all of them with goodness, which also has its strategies, inspired by love.
May the Virgin Mary help us to follow Jesus in this demanding way, which truly exalts human dignity and makes us live as children of our Father who is in Heaven. May she help us to practice patience, dialogue, forgiveness, and thus be craftsmen of communion, craftsmen of fraternity in our daily life, especially in our family.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Unfortunately, news continues to reach us of violent and brutal clashes in the region of Central Kasai of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I feel intensely the grief of the victims, especially for so many children torn from their families and from school to be used as soldiers. Child soldiers are a tragedy. I assure my closeness and prayer, also for the religious and humanitarian personnel who work in that difficult region; and I renew my heartfelt appeal to the conscience and the responsibility of the National Authorities and of the International Community, so that appropriate and timely decisions are taken to help these brothers and sisters of ours.
Let us pray for them and for all peoples suffering also in other parts of the African Continent and of the world due to violence and war. I am thinking, in particular, of the beloved populations of Pakistan and of Iraq, scourged by cruel terrorist acts in past days. Let us pray for the victims, for the wounded and for their relatives. Let us pray ardently that every heart hardened by hatred is converted to peace, in keeping with God’s will. Let us pray for a moment in silence. [Hail Mary …]
I greet you all, families, Associations, parish groups and individual pilgrims from Italy and from various parts of the world.
In particular, I greet the students of Armagh, Ireland, the faithful of the dioceses of Asidonia-Jerez, Cadiz and Ceuta and Madrid in Spain; the Guanellian Youth Movement, the Confirmation candidates of Castelnuovo di Prato and the pilgrims of Modena and Viterbo.
I wish you all a good Sunday – a beautiful day! [he points to the blue sky]. And please, do not forget to pray for me.
Have a good lunch and see you soon!
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]