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!
This Sunday’s liturgy presents to us a brief but very important evangelical passage (Cf. Matthew 22:34-40). The evangelist Matthew recounts that the Pharisees came together to put Jesus to the test. One of them, a Doctor of the Law, asked Him this question: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (v. 36). It’s an insidious question because in the Law of Moses more than six hundred precepts are mentioned. How can one distinguish, among all these, the great commandment? However, Jesus has no hesitation and answers: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” And He adds: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (vv. 37.39).
Jesus’ answer is not a given because, among the many precepts of the Jewish Law, the most important were the Ten Commandments, communicated directly by God to Moses, as conditions of the pact of the Covenant with the people. However, Jesus wants it understood that without the love of God and of one’s neighbor there isn’t true fidelity to this Covenant with the Lord. You can do many good things, fulfill many precepts, many good things, but if you don’t have love it’s all for nought.
It’s confirmed by another text of the book of Exodus, called “Code of the Covenant,” where it states that one can’t be in the Covenant with the Lord and mistreat those that enjoy His protection. And who are those that enjoy His protection? The Bible says: <they are> the widow, the orphan, the stranger, the migrant, namely, the people most alone and vulnerable (Cf. Exodus 22:20-21). Answering those Pharisees who had questioned Him, Jesus tries to help them put their religiosity in order, to re-establish what really counts and what is less important. Jesus says: “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40). They are the most important and the others depend on these two. And Jesus in fact lived His life precisely thus: preaching and doing what really counts and is essential, namely, love. Love gives impetus and fruitfulness to life and to the journey of faith: without love, life and faith remain sterile.
What Jesus proposes in this evangelical page is a stupendous ideal, which corresponds to the most authentic desire of our heart. In fact, we were created to love and to be loved. God, who is Love, has created us to make us participants in His life, to be loved by Him and to love Him and, with Him, to love other people. This is God’s “dream” for man. And, to realize it, we need His grace; we need to receive in ourselves the capacity to love, which comes from God Himself. Jesus offers us the Eucharist in fact for this. In it we receive Jesus in the greatest expression of His love, when He offered Himself to the Father for our salvation.
May the Holy Virgin help us to receive in our life the “great commandment” of love of God and of our neighbor. In fact, even if we have known it since we were children, we will never end being converted to it and putting it into practice in the different situations in which we find ourselves.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Giovanni Schiavo, priest of the Fathers of St. Joseph of Murialdo, was proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Caxias do Sul, Brazil. Born in the early 1900s in the hills of Vicenza, as a young priest he was sent to Brazil, where he worked zealously at the service of the people of God and of the formation of men and women religious. May his example help us to live fully our adherence to Christ and to the Gospel.
I greet you all affectionately, Italian pilgrims and those from various countries, in particular, those form Ballygawley (Ireland), Salzburg (Austria) and from the Traunstein and Berchtesgaden region (Germany). I greet the participants in the congress of the Italian Secular Institutes, whom I encourage in their witness of the Gospel in the world, and the FIDAS Blood Donors Association of Orta Nova (Foggia). I see there are Colombians there!
I greet the Togolese community in Italy, as well as that of Venezuela with the image of Our Lady of Chiquinquira, the “Chinita.” We entrust to the Virgin Mary the hopes and legitimate expectations of these two nations!
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye![Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]