"We love God because He loved us first." The beginning of love comes from Him. "I begin to love, or I can begin to love, because I know that He loved me first". "Being a liar is the devil's way to behave: he is the Great Liar."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Love is concrete and is expressed by doing good and does not allow for indifference, because indifference is a disguished form of not loving God and not loving your neighbor, said Pope Francis today at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, taking inspiration from the first letter of St. John the Apostle (1 Jn 4,19 - 5,4) centered on the theme of love.
The apostle, Francis said, understood what love is, experienced it, and entering the heart of Jesus, he understood how it manifested itself. In his Letter, therefore, he tells us how we love and how we have been loved.
The Pope called these two statemnets "clear". The first is the foundation of love: "We love God because He loved us first.” Love, he continued, stems from Him: “I begin to love, or I can begin to love because I know that He loved me first". And, he added, “If He had not loved us we certainly could not love.” “If a newborn child could speak, he would certainly express the fact that he feels loved by his parents. Parents love their child just as God loves us…He loved us first. And this gives birth to and increases our capacity to love,” he said."This is a clear definition of love: we can love God because He loved us first. "
The second thing that the apostle says "without half words" is that "
that “If one says, 'I love God' but hates his brother, he is a liar.” John, he pointed out, does not describe such a person as ‘rude’ or someone ‘who is wrong’, he calls him a ‘liar’.
And he went on to analyse the word ‘liar’ which, he said, is clearly defined in the Bible as “the devil’s way of being, ‘the Great Liar’, as the New Testament tells us, ‘the father of lies’.
So, the Pope said, “if you say you love God but hate your brother, you are on the other side: you are a liar. There are no concessions to this.”Many, Pope Francis continued, find justifications for not loving: “Some say ‘I don't hate, Father, but there are many people who hurt me, or people I can't accept because they are rude or crude.” He underscored the concrete nature of love indicated by John when he writes “whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”“If you are not capable of loving people, from the closest to the furthest away, you cannot tell us that you love God: you are a liar. There are no concessions".
Many can find justifications for not loving, someone can say "I don't hate, Father, but there are many people who hurt me or that I cannot accept because they are rude or are rough". The Pope replied by emphasizing the concreteness of love indicated by John when he writes: "Whoever does not love his brother whom he can see cannot love God, whom he cannot see" and therefore, "if you are not able to love people, from the closest to the most distant , you cannot tell us that you love God: you are a liar ”.
But there is not only the feeling, the hatred, there may be the will not to "meddle" in the things of others. But this is not a good thing, because love "is expressed by doing good". "If a person says: 'To be perfectly clean, I only drink distilled water': you will die! Because this is not useful for life. True love is not distilled water: it is everyday water, with problems, with affections, with loves and with hatreds, but this is it. Love concretley, concrete love: it is not a laboratory love. This is what the Apostle teaches us with his teaches clear definitions. But there is a way of not loving God and not loving your neighbor who is a little hidden, which is indifference. 'No, I don't want this: I want distilled water. I don't get involved with the problem of others." You must, to help, to pray”.
Francis then quoted an expression by Saint Alberto Hurtado who said: "It is good not to do evil, but it is bad not to do good’, true love, he said “must lead you to do good (...), to dirty your hands in works of love.” It is not easy, Pope Francis admitted concluding his homily, but through faith there is the possibility of prevailing over a mentality “that prevents us from loving”. The path of faith he said is a path that is not undertaken by those who are indifferent, who wash their hands of problems, who do not want to meddle in order to help, who say they love God but do not love their neighbor. “May the Lord teach us these truths: the knowledge of having been loved first and the courage to love our brothers." Pope Franics concluded.