21 February, 2011

Love your enemies: B16 reflects upon this Christian imperative

VATICAN CITY, 20 FEB 2011 (VIS) - In his remarks before praying the Angelus today with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope turned his attention to this Sunday's Bible readings which speak to us, he said, "of God's desire to bring mankind to share in His life: 'You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy' as it says in the Book of Leviticus.

  "With these words and the precepts that follow", the Holy Father added, "the Lord invites the people He chose to remain faithful to their covenant with Him by following His path, and He founds social legislation on the commandment: 'you shall love your neighbour as yourself'. If, then, we listen to Jesus, in Whom God took a mortal body in order to come close to all men and to reveal His infinite love for us, we rediscover this same call, this same bold objective".

  The Pope continued: "Jesus Himself says: 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven'. Those who welcome the Lord into their own lives and love Him with all their hearts are able to make a new start. They manage to accomplish the will of God: that of creating a new form of existence, inspired by love and destined for eternity. ... If we are truly aware of this fact and our lives are profoundly moulded around it, then our witness becomes clear, eloquent and effective".

  The Holy Father then went on to recall the fact that 22 February marks the Feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter, the "first of the Apostles", to whom "Christ entrusted the role of master and pastor for the spiritual guidance of the People of God, that they might be raised unto heaven. Thus", he said, "I exhort all pastors 'to assimilate that new style of life which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and taken up by the Apostles'".

  In his greetings delivered in various languages after the Angelus prayer, the Pope emphasised the importance of reconciliation. "When we suffer because of evil, persecution or injustice, let us avoid retribution, revenge and hatred, and pray for our persecutors", he said. "'Overcome evil with good'. Let us entrust all these adversities to God in order to achieve freedom and spiritual peace".

  Finally, speaking Spanish, the Holy Father reaffirmed that today's liturgy invites us "to the fullness of Christian life and perfection of charity by forgiving our enemies and praying for our persecutors, which is the source of lasting reconciliation".
ANG/                                                                                                VIS 20110221 (440)

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