City (AsiaNews) - "If, in our hearts, there is no mercy, no joy of
forgiveness, we are not in
communion with God, even if we observe all his precepts because it is love that
saves, not only the practice of his precepts," said Pope Francis in his reflection,
in which he focused on the "parables of mercy" taken from today's
liturgy, before 70,000 people who had gathered in St Peter's Square for the
Angelus, braving the heavy rain, as the pope himself noted.
Mercy, in the pope's
words, is "the true force that can save man and the world from the 'cancer'
of sin, of moral and spiritual evil." Hence, it marks the journey of Christians
through life, because "if we live according to the law of 'an eye for an
eye, a tooth for a tooth', we cannot come out of the spiral of evil. The Evil
One is smart. He dupes us into thinking that human justice can save us and save
the world. In fact, only God's
justice can save us! And God's
justice revealed itself on the Cross."
parables that spurred Francis's reflection come from Chapter 15 of the Gospel
of Luke. They concern "the lost sheep, the lost coin, and then the longest
of all the parables, which is typical of Luke, the father and his
two sons, the ' prodigal ' son and the self-righteous son who thinks he is holy."
"All three parables
speak of God's joy. God is joyful! That is something interesting. What is God's
joy? Forgiveness. God's joy is forgiveness! It is the joy of the shepherd who
finds his sheep; the joy of the woman who finds her coin; it is the joy of the
father who welcomes home a son who was lost, who
was as good as dead, but is alive again, back home. This is the whole Gospel. This
is the whole of Christianity!"
"Yet, there is
nothing sentimental about it, nor a sense of 'doing good'! On the contrary,
the true force that can save man and the world from the 'cancer' of sin, of moral
and spiritual evil. Only love fills the emptiness, the negative chasms that
evil opens in hearts and history. Only love can do this and this is God's joy."
all mercy, all love. He is God made man. Everyone here is the lost sheep, the lost coin, and each of us is
the son who has wasted his freedom following false idols, the illusions of
happiness, and lost everything. He is a patient father. He respects our
freedom, but remains loyal. And when we return to Him, he welcomes us as
children, into his house, because he never stops, not even for a moment, to wait
for us, with love. And his heart celebrates every child who comes back. He celebrates
because it is joy. He celebrates when one of us sinners comes back."
the danger? To think that we are just; that we can judge others; that we can judge
God because we think he should punish sinners; condemn them to death, instead
of forgiving them. That is when we risk remaining outside of our Father's house!
the older brother in the parable, who instead of being happy because his
brother was back, got angry with his father who welcomes him and celebrates. If,
in our hearts there is no mercy, no joy of forgiveness, we are not in
communion with God, even if we observe all of his precepts because it is love
that saves, not only the practice of the precepts. Love for God and one's
neighbour fulfils all the commandments. This is his joy: forgiveness."
Human justice cannot
save us and save the world. "Only
God's justice can save us! And God's justice revealed itself on the Cross. The Cross
is God's judgment on all of us and on this world. But how does God judge us? By
giving his life for us. Behold the supreme act of justice that defeated once
and for all the Prince of this world. This supreme act of justice is also one
of mercy. Jesus called us all to follow this path. "Be merciful," he said,
"just as [. . .] your Father is merciful"(Lk, 6:36).
"Now I ask
you one thing. Let each one of you think about a person with whom you do not
get along, with whom you are angry. In silence, think about this person, pray
for this person and let yourself become merciful towards this person."