02/19/2023, 12.58
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Pope: 'touched' by earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey, by 'drama' of Ukrainian people

At the Angelus, the pontiff recalls the victims and survivors of the devastating earthquake that struck the Syrian and Turkish populations on Feb. 6. Thoughts also turn to Ukraine almost a year after the Russian invasion. The suffering caused by poverty, lack of freedom and environmental devastation. The "extraordinary" and "disproportionate" love of Jesus that goes beyond calculation.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The "extraordinary and disproportionate" love of Jesus asks all of us to "let ourselves be touched" by the situations of those "tried" by suffering, especially "to Syria and Turkey, to the many victims of the earthquake," Pope Francis stressed at the Angelus today, addressing the faithful who packed St. Peter's Square.

Nearly a year after the beginning of the war launched by Moscow against Kiev, the pontiff then turned his thoughts to the "daily dramas of the dear Ukrainian people" and "of so many people who suffer because of war, because of poverty, because of lack of freedom, because of environmental devastation."

He went on to express his closeness also to the "people of New Zealand who have been hit in recent days by a devastating cyclone." 

War, earthquake, deprivation of freedom, including religious freedom, and increasing environmental devastation related to environmental changes are some of the points touched upon by the pope at the conclusion of the Marian prayer.

Earlier, commenting on the words proposed by today's liturgy as an introduction to the Marian prayer, he called Jesus' words in the Gospel "demanding" and "paradoxical" because "he invites us to turn the other cheek and to love even our enemies."

The pope calls "extraordinary" that which exceeds "the normal calculations dictated by prudence," when fearing "being disappointed" we prefer "to love only those who love us."

The Lord warns that this "is not enough, this is not Christian," and if we remain "in the ordinary" things "do not change. If God were to follow this logic, we would have no hope of salvation!" but God "goes beyond the usual criteria" by which humans live relationships. 

Continuing his reflection, Francis spoke of the challenge contained in Jesus' words. "He asks us to open ourselves to the extraordinary of gratuitous love; while we always try to get even, Christ stimulates us," he says, "to live the unbalancing of love" because "Jesus is not a good accountant.

Without this imbalance Christ "would not have come looking for us while we were lost and far away."

Borrowing the Apostle Paul's words, the pontiff recalls how Christ died "for us" when "we were still sinners" confirming a love that is "always disproportionate."

"Today," he continues, "he also asks us to live in this way, because only in this way will we truly witness to him," stepping out of the logic of self-interest, calculations and convenience. 

Christ "invites us not to respond to evil with evil, to dare in the good, to risk in the gift, even if we receive little or nothing in return. For it is this love," the pope concluded, with a thought to the many wars that stain the planet with blood, "that slowly transforms conflicts, shortens distances, overcomes enmities and heals the wounds of hatred. Hence the final invitation to pray to Our Lady who, by responding to God "with her 'yes' without calculation, allowed him to make her the masterpiece of his Grace."

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