Francis: “Loving one’s enemies is scary but Jesus asks it of us”

"Show forgiveness, Jesus asks it of you"

“SHOW FORGIVENESS, JESUS ASKS IT OF YOU”

In his homily for this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, the Pope reflected on the Gospel passage that points towards the path of unconditional love. We may not feel like doing good, but that’s the Christian way

MAURO PIANTA
VATICAN CITY

Love your enemies. It may seem like an impossible feat, like “foolishness”, it may scare us, but Jesus asks it of us. He asks us to renouncing the “cunning of the world”. Everything is possible, not “by our own strength” but “by the grace of God”. In his homily for this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, Francis focused on the passage in Luke’s Gospel in which Jesus indicates the path of love without boundaries. “[L]ove your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you,” Vatican Radio quotes the Pope saying. Francis said that this is a model of Christian life – of unconditional love in action. “Do good, lend without hoping to have back what you have lent – [act] without interest, and your reward will be great,” he said. Pope Francis also recognized that this new way of the Gospel is one by which it is often difficult to live: “‘But Father’ [one might say], ‘I don’t feel like behaving that way’. ‘Well’, [one might reply], ‘if you don’t feel like it, that’s your problem, but that’s the Christian way.” This is that way that Jesus teaches us. ‘And what can I hope?’ [one might ask]. Go on Jesus’ way, which is the way of mercy. Be merciful as your father is merciful. Only with a merciful heart can we do all that, which the Lord counsels us to do – all the way. The Christian life is not a navel-gazing one. It is a life in which one gets out of oneself in order to give oneself to others. It is a gift, it is love – and love does not turn in on itself, it is not selfish, but self-giving.”

 

Jesus asks us to be merciful and not to judge, Francis continued. Often “it seems that we have been named judges of others: engaging in gossip, talking behind people’s backs, we judge everyone.” The Lord, however tells us not to judge, lest we be judged ourselves. “Do not condemn [others],” said Pope Francis, “and you will not be condemned.” The Lord asks us to forgive, that we might be forgiven. “We say it every day in the Our Father,” noted the Holy Father, “forgive us as we forgive others – and if I do not forgive, how can I ask the Father to forgive me? This is the Christian life. ‘But Father, this is folly!’ one might say. ‘Yes’, one might answer, ‘it is’. We have heard in these days, though, St Paul, who said the same: the foolishness of the Cross of Christ, which has nothing to do with the wisdom of the world. ‘But Father, to be Christian is to become some sort of fool?’ [one might ask]. ‘Yes’, [I would say], ‘in a certain sense, yes. It means renouncing the cunning of the world in order to do everything that Jesus tells us to do and that, if we do the sums, if we balance the ledger, seems to be against us.”

 

“The way the Lord teaches us is the way of magnanimity, of generosity, of self-giving without measure. “It was for this,” he said, “that Jesus came into the world,” not to judge, not to engage in idle gossip, not to pass judgments, but to give and to forgive. “Being Christian isn’t easy,” said Pope Francis, adding that we can become Christians only by the grace of God, and not by our own strength: Here then arises the problem that we all must face daily: ‘Lord, give me the grace to become a good Christian, because I cannot do it on my own’. This is something quite frightening at first glance – quite frightening, indeed. If, however, we take the Gospel and we read the 6th chapter of St. Luke – and reread it and reread it and reread it – and let us do so – and let us ask the Lord for the grace to understand what it is to be a Christian, to understand the grace He gives to us Christians, as well, because we cannot do it on our own.”

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About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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