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    » 06/08/2008, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: true religion consists in love of God and of neighbour



    Before the recitation of the Angelus, Benedict XVI emphasised the meaning of the citation, made twice by Jesus, of a phrase of the prophet Hosea: "I desire love, and not sacrifice".

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "True religion consists in love of God and of neighbour": this is "one of the summaries of the entire Christian message", as Benedict XVI said today, illustrating an expression of the prophet Hosea, cited in the Gospel of Matthew, when he says: "I desire love, and not sacrifice".

    To the 30,000 faithful present in Saint Peter's Square for the recitation of the Angelus, despite the clouds and some sprinklings of rain, the pope spoke of today's Liturgy of the Word, and in particular of the expression of the prophet Hosea, which Jesus quotes in the Gospel: "I desire love, and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God more than holocausts" (Hos. 6:6).  "This is", he affirmed, "a key phrase, one of those that introduce us into the heart of the Sacred Scripture".  The pope recalled that the phrase is  repeated in the account of the calling of Matthew, who was a "publican", meaning a tax collector who worked for the imperial Roman authority: "for this very reason, he was considered a public sinner by the Jews".  To the Pharisees who were scandalised by the fact that Jesus should go to his house together with his disciples, he replied: "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do . . . I did not come to call the righteous but sinners".  The evangelist Matthew, who is always attentive to the connection between the Old and the New Testament, at this point puts on the lips of Jesus the prophecy of Hosea: "Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice'".

    "Such is the importance of this expression of the prophet", Benedict XVI emphasised, "that the Lord cites it again in another context, in regard to the observance of the Sabbath (cf. Mt. 12:7). "Therefore", the pope continued, "in this oracle of Hosea, Jesus, the Word made man, 'recognises himself', so to speak, completely; he did this with his whole heart and realised it with his behaviour, at the cost even of disturbing the sensibilities of the leaders of his people.  This word of God", he concluded, "has come down to us through the Gospels, as one of the summaries of the entire Christian message: true religion consists in love of God and of neighbour.  This is what gives value to worship and to the practice of the precepts".

    After the recitation of the Marian prayer, while greeting a group of Polish pilgrims, the pope addressed "a special prayer for the miners who last Wednesday lost their lives in the catastrophe of the Borynia mine.  I implore for them," he added, "the grace of eternal repose, spiritual comfort for their families, and quick healing for the wounded.  May the merciful God", he concluded, "guard us from an untimely death".

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    See also

    16/11/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: the "talents" that Christ has given us are multiplied when given away
    Benedict XVI urges the faithful not to forget the gift of the faith, and not to be afraid of God, but to offer and share the gift given to us by Christ, which is He himself. Acknowledgment of religious who live in cloistered contemplative prayer. All are called to support them in their material needs. Their presence in the world is "indispensable."

    19/01/2008 VATICAN
    In Italy and in the world, millions tomorrow will pray the Angelus with the pope
    Enthusiastic participation everywhere at the invitation from Cardinal Ruini to join the pope in the Angelus prayer tomorrow, as "a gesture of affection, serenity, and joy" after the controversy and cancellation surrounding the pope's visit to the La Sapienza university. 150,000 are expected in Saint Peter's square. Giant television screens will be set up to broadcast the event in Milan and many other cities. The participation of the Catholics in China.

    29/06/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: Rome, unity and mission to all peoples at feast of Peter and Paul
    Benedict XVI emphasises the mission of the two apostles, and that of the see of Rome, to emphasise the unity and universality of the Catholic faith. Also present Bartholomew I, patriarch of Constantinople, in Rome for the beginning of the Pauline Year. The pontiff gave 40 archbishops the pallium, sign of Christ's "care" for humanity and of collegial communion with the pope.

    02/03/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: may the bishop of Mosul be freed, and the violence in the Holy Land ended
    Appeals from Benedict XVI, who at the Angelus expresses sadness over the kidnapping of Archbishop Rahho, and calls for the continuation of efforts to give a future to Iraq. Of the Israelis and Palestinians, he asks for an end to the spiral of violence: only by demonstrating respect for human life can the land of Jesus have peace.

    01/02/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: euthanasia is a false solution to the drama of suffering
    Benedict XVI stresses the value of the Day for Life, on the topic "the power of life in suffering." Thanks to Jesus, who suffered for the sake of love, human suffering has meaning. The appointment tomorrow for the Day of Consecrated Life, on which the pontiff will meet with consecrated men and women in Rome. Prayer for "many new vocations."



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