Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "In the light of the word of Jesus, love is the measure of faith, and faith is the soul of love. We can no longer separate our religious life, our life of piety, from service to brethren , those real brothers and sisters we meet. We can no longer separate meeting God in prayer, in the Sacraments, from listening to the other, from being close to their lives, their wounds. Remember this: love is the measure of faith. How much do you love? We should all answer that question". This was Pope Francis' reflection speaking to pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus. The pilgrims estimated up to 50-60 thousand, filled the square spilling over onto the large Via della Conciliazione, boulevard.
The Pope was commenting on the Sunday Gospel today (Matthew
22,34-40, XXX Sunday
in Year, A), which recalls the
episode of the "great
commandment." "Jesus - the Pope notes - adds
something that had not been asked
by the doctors of the law",
or the "second" commandment ": You shall love your neighbor as yourself".
The novelty of Jesus - he said - "consists in putting together these two commandments - love of God and love of neighbor - proving that they are inseparable and complementary, they are two sides of the same coin. You can not love God without loving our neighbor and you can not love your neighbor without loving God. Pope Benedict has left us a nice comment on this in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est (Nos. 16-18)".
"In fact - he added - a visible sign
that the Christian can show to witness God's love to
the world and to others, to his
family, is the love of his brethren.
commandment of love of God and neighbor is the first because it
is not high on the list of the commandments. Jesus does not put it at the top, but at the center, it is the heart from which everything eradicates and to which
"In the midst of the dense forest of rules and regulations - the legalisms of yesterday and today - Jesus shines a ray of light that helps us to make out two faces: the face of the Father and that of our brother. He is not handing us down two formulas or two precepts, but two faces, in fact only one face, the face of God reflected in the many faces, because in the face of every brother, especially the smallest, most fragile and helpless, of those in need is the very image of God.
We should ask ourselves when we encounter one of these
brothers if we
are able to recognize the face of
God in him. Are we capable of this?".
Almost as a reminder and example of this capability to see the face of God in others, after the Angelus, Francis spoke of yesterday's beatification in Sao Paulo, Brazil, of Mother Assunta Marchetti, Italian co-foundress of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo - Scalabrini. "She was a nun - he explained - who gave exemplary service to the orphans of Italian immigrants, she saw Jesus present in the poor, orphans, the sick, the immigrant. We thank the Lord for this woman, a model of tireless missionary spirit and courageous dedication to the service of charity".