"Last week the long awaited exchange of prisoners between the Russian Federation and Ukraine was carried out. I rejoice for the people who were freed, who have been able to re-embrace their loved ones, and continue to pray for a rapid end to the conflict and for lasting peace in eastern Ukraine ".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Let us not believe ourselves good, because without God's help we do not know how to overcome evil, a god who "saves with love, not by force; proposing, not imposing Himself ". This is the teaching that today's Gospel proposes, highlighted by Pope Francis in the words he addressed to the 20 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square for the recitation of the Angelus.
And after the Marian prayer, Francis said he was delighted by the news that last week the long awaited exchange of prisoners between the Russian Federation and Ukraine was carried out. "I rejoice - he said - for the liberated people, who have been able to re-embrace their loved ones, and I continue to pray for a rapid end to the conflict and for lasting peace in eastern Ukraine".
He had previously recalled that "today's Gospel (Lk 15: 1-32) begins with some who criticize Jesus, seeing him in the company of tax collectors and sinners, and they say disdainfully:" He welcomes sinners and eats with them "(v . 2). This phrase actually turns out to be a wonderful proclamation. Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them. This is what happens to us, in every Mass, in every church: Jesus is happy to welcome us to his table, where he offers himself for us. It is the phrase that we could write on the doors of our churches: "Here Jesus welcomes sinners and invites them to his table".
In the Gospel episode, Jesus recounts three "stupendous parables that tell his predilection for those who are distant to him" - those of the good shepherd, the lost coin and the prodigal son - in which the Pope emphasized that "He waits every day for us to realize His love. And you say: "But I've done too much!" Don't be afraid: God loves you, loves you as you are and knows that only HHis love can change your life. But this infinite love of God for us sinners, which is the heart of the Gospel, can be rejected. This is what the eldest son of the parable does. He does not understand love and has more a master than a father in mind. We too risk this: to believe in a more rigorous than merciful God, a god who defeats evil with power rather than forgiveness. It is not so, God saves with love, not with force; posing, not imposing. But the eldest son, who does not accept his father's mercy, closes himself, makes a worse mistake: he presumes he is right, presumes he is betrayed, and judges everything on the basis of his justice. So he gets angry with his brother and scolds his father: "You killed the fat calf now that your son has returned" (see verse 30). This son of yours: my brother does not call him, but your son. He feels like an only child. We are also wrong when we believe ourselves to be right, when we think that the bad ones are the others. Let us not believe ourselves good, because alone, without the help of God who is good, we do not know how to overcome evil. Today do not forget, take the Gospel and read the three parables of Luke 15 "
"How can you defeat evil? Accepting God's forgiveness. It happens every time we go to confession: there we receive the love of the Father who overcomes our sin: there is no more, God forgets it. God is so good with us. Not like us, who after many words "do nothing", at the first opportunity we remember injuries suffered. No, God cancels evil, makes us new inside and thus brings joy to us. Not sadness. Joy. Courage, with God no sin has the last word. Our Lady, who unties the knots of life, frees us from the pretense of believing we are righteous and makes us feel the need to go to the Lord, who is waiting for us to embrace us, to forgive us ".