ANGELUS ADDRESS: Fulfilment of the Mosaic Law

A ‘Higher Justice’ Animated by Love, Charity and Mercy”

Angelus 30 August 2015

PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Before the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today’s liturgy presents to us another page of the Sermon on the Mount, which we find in Matthew’s Gospel (cf. 5:17-37). In this passage, Jesus wishes to help His listeners to reread the Mosaic Law. What was said in the old Covenant was true, but it was not all: Jesus came to fulfil it and to promote God’s Law in a definitive way, to the last iota (cf. v. 18). He manifests its original purpose and fulfils the authentic aspects, and He does all this through His preaching and even more so with the offer of Himself on the cross. Thus Jesus teaches how to carry out fully the will of God and He uses this word: with a “higher justice” in relation to that of the scribes and the Pharisees (cf. v. 20).  A justice animated by love, charity and mercy and, hence, capable of carrying out the essence of the Commandments, avoiding the risk of formalism. Formalism: I can do this, I can’t do that; up to here I can, up to here I can’t … No: more, more.

In particular, in today’s Gospel Jesus examines three aspects, three Commandments: homicide, adultery and swearing.

In regard to the Commandment ”do not kill,” He affirms that it is violated not only by effective homicide, but also by behavior that offends the dignity of the human person, including insulting words (cf. 22). These certainly do not have the same gravity and culpability, such as killing, but they are in the same line, because they are its premises and reveal the same ill-will. Jesus invites us not to establish a graded list of offenses, but to consider all of them harmful, in as much as moved by the intent to do evil to one’s neighbor. And Jesus gives an example. To insult: we are used to insulting, it’s like saying “good morning.” And this is in the same line as killing. One who insults his brother, kills in his heart his brother. Please, do not insult! We gain nothing …

Another fulfilment is contributed to the matrimonial law. Adultery was considered a violation of the right of property of man over woman. Instead, Jesus goes to the root of the evil. As one arrives at homicide through insults and offenses, so one arrives at adultery through intentions of possession in regard to a woman other than one’s wife. Adultery, like theft, corruption and all other sins, is first conceived in our innermost being and, once the mistaken choices are carried out in the heart, they are acted out in concrete behavior. And Jesus says: one who looks at a woman who is not one’s own with a spirit of possession is an adulterer in his heart; he has begun the path to adultery. Let us think a bit about this, about evil thoughts that come in this line.

Jesus then says to his disciples not to swear, in as much as swearing is a sign of the insecurity and of the double-dealing with which human relations are carried out. God’s authority is instrumentalized to guarantee our human affairs. Instead, we are called to establish among us, in our families and in our communities an atmosphere of limpidity and mutual trust, so that we can be held to be sincere without taking recourse to higher interventions to be believed. Diffidence and mutual suspicion always threaten serenity!

May the Virgin Mary, woman of docile listening and joyous obedience help us to approach the Gospel ever more, to be Christians of substance, not “of facade!” And this is possible with the grace of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to do everything with love, and thus to fully carry out the will of God.

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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After the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I greet all the pilgrims present, the families, the parish groups, the Associations. In particular, I greet the students of the “Carolina Coronado” Institute of Almendralejo and the faithful of Tarragona, in Spain, as well as the groups of Caltanissetta, Valgoglio, Ancona, Pesaro, Turin and Pisa, and the Saint Francis of Paula Neo-Catechcumenal Community of Turin.

I wish you all a good Sunday. And don’t forget” don’t insult; don’t look with evil eyes, with eyes of possession of one’s neighbor’s wife; don’t swear. Three things Jesus says. It’s so easy! Please don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester}

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