Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 6 May 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
During this Easter season, the Word of God continues to point out to us the styles of life that are consistent with being the community of the Risen One. Among these, today’s Gospel presents us with Jesus’ instructions: “abide in my love” (Jn 15:9): to abide in Jesus’ love. To live in the flow of God’s love, to take up permanent residence there, is the condition to ensure that our love does not lose its ardour and boldness along the way. Like Jesus and in him, we too must welcome with gratitude the love that comes from the Father and abide in this love, trying to avoid being separated from it by egoism and sin. It is a demanding project but it is not impossible.
First and foremost, it is important to realize that Christ’s love is not a superficial feeling, no; it is a fundamental attitude of the heart which is manifested in living as he wishes. In fact, Jesus states: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (v. 10). Love is fulfilled in everyday life, in attitudes, in deeds. Otherwise, it is only something illusory. They are words, words, words: that is not love. Love is concrete, every day. Jesus asks us to follow his commandments, which are summarized in the following: “that you love one another as I have loved you” (v. 12).
How can this love which the Risen Lord gives us be shared with others? Jesus has many times pointed out to us who the “other” to love is, not with words but with actions. It is the person I encounter on the street and who, with his face and his story, challenges me; it is the one who, with his very presence, compels me to leave my interests and my certainties behind; it is he who awaits my willingness to listen and to walk a stretch of road together. Openness towards each brother and sister, whoever they may be and whatever their situation, beginning with those who are close to me in the family, in the community, at work, at school.... In this way, if I remain united to Jesus, his love can reach the other and draw him to it, to His friendship.
And this love for the other cannot be reserved for exceptional moments, but must be constant in our lives. That is why we are called, for example, to safeguard the elderly like a precious treasure and with love even if they cause economic difficulties and inconveniences, but we must safeguard them. This is why we must give all the assistance possible to the sick, even in the final stages. This is why unborn children are always to be welcomed; this is why, ultimately, life is always to be protected and loved, from conception to its natural end. And this is love.
We are loved by God in Jesus Christ who asks us to love one another as he loves us. But we cannot do this if we do not have his same Heart within us. The Eucharist, in which we are called to participate every Sunday, has the aim of forming the Heart of Christ within us, so that our entire life may be guided by his generous attitudes. May the Virgin Mary help us to remain in Jesus’ love and to grow in our love towards all, especially the weakest, so as to correspond fully to our Christian vocation.
After reciting the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father continued:
Dear brothers and sisters, Clara Fey, the Foundress of the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus who lived in the second half of the 19th century, was beatified yesterday in Aachen, Germany. Let us give thanks to God for this zealous witness of the Gospel, caring educator of disadvantaged youth.
I invite you to pray for the people of the Central African Republic, a country I had the joy of visiting and which I carry in my heart, and where in recent days there has been grave violence resulting in numerous deaths and wounded, including a priest. May the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, help everyone to say ‘no’ to violence and revenge in order to build peace together.
I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims, in particular those from Oviedo, Spain, students from Vrbové, Slovakia and altar boys from Bern. A special greeting goes to the new Swiss Guards, their relatives and friends on the feast day of this historic and worthy Corps. A round of applause for them!
I greet the representatives of the Meter Association, whom I encourage to continue their commitment to child victims of violence; as well as the faithful from Piacenza and Borgoricco and the gymnasts from Castelfranco Emilia.
I also heard some songs from the Neocatechumenals. There they are! Thank you! Thank you for your work of evangelization. You are everywhere, thank you!
I also greet all the inmates from the Latina correctional facility who are spiritually joined with us at this time.
Have a happy Sunday. And please do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!
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