02/12/2017, 13.54
VATICAN

Pope: insulting and offending the dignity of the person is "in line" with murder

Some behaviours "are the premise and reveal the same malevolence" of killing. "Like stealing, corruption and all other sins, adultery is first conceived in our hearts and once the wrong choice is made in the heart, it is then followed in actual behaviour.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Although they may not be as serious as killing, "those behaviours that offend the dignity of the human person, like insulting words [. . .] are in line with it because they are its premise and reveal the same malevolence,” said Pope Francis as he spoke about the Sermon on the Mount in his reflection before today’s Angelus.

Speaking before some 20,000 people in St Peter's Square for the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Holy Father noted that in the Sermon Jesus seeks to "realise the substance of the commandments, avoiding the risk of formalism". This means being a "substantive rather than a cosmetic Christian," something that is also demonstrated by other two aspects that Jesus mentions: adultery and swearing.

"Jesus wants to help his listeners reinterpret the Mosaic law. What the old Covenant said was not everything: Jesus came to fulfill and enact definitively God's law to the last iota. He manifests the original purposes and fulfills its authentic aspects, and does all this by his preaching and even more so by offering himself on the cross. Thus Jesus teaches us how to do God's will fully, with a 'higher justice' than that of the scribes and Pharisees (cf. see 20). This justice is moved by love, charity, mercy, and therefore is able to realise the substance of the commandments, avoiding the risk of formalism, which says: I can do this, I can’t do that; I can go as far as here, or there. . . No, more, more, more."

"In particular, in today’s Gospel, Jesus examines three aspects: murder, adultery and swearing. With respect to the commandment 'You shall not kill', He says that is violated not only by an actual murder, but also by those behaviours that offend the dignity of the human person, including insulting words (cf. see 22). Of course, these insulting words are not as serious and culpable as killing, but they are in line with it because they are its premise and reveal the same malevolence. Jesus invites us not to rank offences, but to consider them all harmful, as they are motivated by the intention to harm others. Jesus gives the example. We are as used to insult as we are of saying Good Morning. This is in line with killing. Whoever insults his brother kills his brother in the heart. Please, do not insult! There is nothing to be gained from that."

"Another act is done through the marriage law. Adultery was considered a violation of a man’s right to possess a woman. Jesus, however, goes to the root of evil. As one comes to murder through insults and offences, so one comes to adultery through the intent of possessing a woman other than one’s wife. Like stealing, corruption and all other sins, adultery is first conceived in our hearts and, once the wrong choice is made in the heart, it is made in actual behaviour. For Jesus, whoever looks upon a woman who is not his own, with the intention of possession, is an adulterer in his heart, and has set off on the path of adultery. Let us reflect a bit on this, on the bad thoughts that are in line with this.”

Finally, swearing. "Jesus told his disciples not to swear because swearing is a sign of insecurity and duplicity in human relationships. God’s authority is used to give assurance about our human affairs. Instead, we are called to build a climate of clarity and mutual trust among ourselves, our families and our communities, so that we can be considered honest without resorting to higher interventions to be believed. Mistrust and mutual suspicion increasingly threaten serenity!"

"May the Virgin Mary, a woman who listened and obeyed gently and joyfully, help us come close the Gospel more and more, so as to be a substantive rather than a cosmetic Christian! This is possible with the grace of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to do everything with love, and thus carry out in full God's will."

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