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Forgiving our enemies makes us more like Jesus: Pope Francis

Vatican City, 18 June 2013: Loving our enemies is difficult, but that is what Jesus asks of us, said Francis Pope during the Mass he celebrated on Tuesday morning at Santa Marta Residence in the Vatican. The Pope stressed that in order to forgive our enemies, it is essential to pray for them to change their hearts. The Mass, concelebrated by Cardinal Joseph Versaldi, was attended by a group of employees of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See and a group of employees of the Vatican Museums.

How can we love our enemies?, asked the Pope. how can we love those who decide to “bomb and kill so many people?" And again, how can we "love those who out of their for love money prevent the elderly from accessing the necessary medicine and leave them to die"? Or those who only seek "their own best interests, power for themselves and do so much evil?" "It seems hard to love your enemy," he noted, but Jesus asks it of us. This current liturgy, he said, proposes "Jesus’ updating of the law", of the law of Mount Sinai with the Law of the Mount of Beatitudes. The Pope also pointed out that we all have enemies, but deep down we too can become enemies of others:

"We too often we become enemies of others: we do not wish them well. And Jesus tells us to love our enemies! And this is not easy! It is not easy ... we even think that Jesus is asking too much of us! We leave this to the cloistered nuns, who are holy, we leave this for some holy soul, but this is not right for everyday life. But it must be right! Jesus says: 'No, we must do this! Because otherwise you will be like the tax collectors, like pagans. Not Christians.”

So how can we love our enemies? Pope Francis noted that Jesus, "tells us two things": first look to the Father who "makes the sun rise on evil and good" and "rain fall on the just and unjust”. God "loves everyone." And then he continued, Jesus tells us to be "perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect", "imitate the Father with that perfection of love." He added Jesus "forgive his enemies". He warned that taking revenge is not Christian. The Pope asked but how can we succeed in loving our enemies? By praying. "When we pray for what makes us suffer - the Pope said - it is as if the Lord comes with oil and prepares our hearts for peace."

Pope Francis reaffirmed, it’s true that love for our enemies "impoverishes us”, because it makes us poor "like Jesus", who, when he came to us, lowered himself and became poor" for us. The Pope noted that some could argue this was not a good deal "if the enemy makes me poorer" and of course, "according to the criteria of this world, it is not a good deal." But this, he said, is "the path Jesus travelled" who from rich became poor for us. In this poverty, "in this Jesus’ lowering of himself – he said - there is the grace that has justified us all, made us all rich." It is the "mystery of salvation."
It makes us more like the Son, Jesus, who in his humiliation became poor to enrich us, with his poverty.
Source: VR Sedoc


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