7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

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Papal Homilies

Pope Francis

March 13, 2013 – Present

FEBRUARY 24, 2019

The Logic of Love

This Sunday’s Gospel passage (cf. Lk 6:27-38) concerns a central point that characterizes Christian life: love for enemies

The logic of love, which culminates in Christ’s Cross, is a Christian’s badge and induces us to meet everyone with the heart of brothers and sisters. But how is it possible to overcome human instinct and the worldly law of retaliation? Jesus provides the answer in the same Gospel passage: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (v. 36). Those who hear Jesus, who make an effort to follow him even at a cost, become children of God, and begin to truly resemble the Father who is in heaven. We become capable of things we never thought we could say or do, and of which we would have been rather ashamed, but which now give us joy and peace instead. We no longer need to be violent, with words and gestures: we discover that we are capable of tenderness and goodness; and we sense that all of this comes not from ourselves but from him! And thus we do not brag about it but are grateful for it…

We must forgive because God has forgiven us and always forgives us. If we do not forgive completely, we cannot expect to be forgiven completely. However, if our hearts are open to mercy, if we seal forgiveness with a brotherly embrace and secure the bonds of communion, we proclaim to the world that it is possible to overcome evil with good. At times it is easier for us to remember the harm they have done to us and not the good things; to the point that there are people who have this habit and it becomes a sickness. They are “collectors of injustice”: they only remember the bad things done. And this is not a path. We must do the opposite, Jesus says. Remember the good things, and when someone comes with some gossip, and speaks ill of another, say: “Yes, perhaps … but he has this good quality…”. Turn the discussion around. This is the revolution of mercy.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Mass at Casa Santa Marta

Mercy is the Christian “Style”

Only the merciful are like God the Father. ‘Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.

This is the Christian style, this is the manner of Christian living. But if I do not do these four things? Loving enemies, doing good to those who hate me, blessing those who curse me, and praying for those who mistreat me, am I not a Christian? Yes, you are a Christian because you have received Baptism, but you are not living like a Christian. You are living like a pagan, with the spirit of worldliness.

Only the merciful are like God the Father. ‘Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.’ This is the path, the path that goes against the spirit of the world, that thinks differently, that does not accuse others. Because among us is the “Great Accuser,” the one who is always going about to accuse us before God, to destroy. Satan: he is the “Great Accuser.” And when I enter into this logic of accusing, of cursing, seeking to do evil to others, I enter into the logic of the “Great Accuser” who is the “Destroyer,” who does not know the word mercy, does not know, has never lived it.

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SOURCE: Vatican News

homilies

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Pope Benedict XVI

April 19, 2005 – February 28, 2013

FEBRUARY 18, 2007

The Magna Carta of
Christian Non-Violence

In the world there is too much violence, too much injustice, and therefore that this situation cannot be overcome except by countering it with more love, with more goodness.

This Gospel passage is rightly considered the magna carta of Christian non-violence. It does not consist in succumbing to evil, as a false interpretation of “turning the other cheek” (cf. Lk 6: 29) claims, but in responding to evil with good (cf. Rom 12: 17-21) and thereby breaking the chain of injustice.

One then understands that for Christians, non-violence is not merely tactical behaviour but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone.

Love of one’s enemy constitutes the nucleus of the “Christian revolution”, a revolution not based on strategies of economic, political or media power: the revolution of love, a love that does not rely ultimately on human resources but is a gift of God which is obtained by trusting solely and unreservedly in his merciful goodness. Here is the newness of the Gospel which silently changes the world! Here is the heroism of the “lowly” who believe in God’s love and spread it, even at the cost of their lives.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticanahomilies

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Pope Saint John Paul II

October 16, 1978 – April 2, 2005

FEBRUARY 6, 2001

LOVE IS NOT RESENTFUL

The Demand for a Radical Conversion

The liberation and salvation brought by the kingdom of God come to the human person both in his physical and spiritual dimensions.  

There are Christians who think they can dispense with this unceasing spiritual effort, because they do not see the urgency of standing before the truth of the Gospel. Lest their way of life be upset, they seek to take words like “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Lk 6:27) and render them empty and innocuous. For these people, it is extremely difficult to accept such words and to translate them into consistent patterns of behaviour. They are in fact words which, if taken seriously, demand a radical conversion. On the other hand, when we are offended or hurt, we are tempted to succumb to the psychological impulses of self-pity and revenge, ignoring Jesus’ call to love our enemy. Yet the daily experiences of human life show very clearly how much forgiveness and reconciliation are indispensable if there is to be genuine renewal, both personal and social. This applies not only to interpersonal relationships, but also to relationships between communities and nations. 

3. The many tragic conflicts which grievously wound humanity, some of them stirred by mistaken religious motives, have sown violence and hatred between peoples and even at times between groups and factions within the same nation. With a distressing sense of powerlessness, we sometimes see a revival of hostilities which we had thought were finally settled, and it seems that some peoples are caught in an unstoppable spiral of violence, which continues to claim victim after victim, without any real prospect of resolution. And hopes for peace, heard all around the world, come to nothing: for the commitment required to move towards the longed-for reconciliation fails to take hold.

John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1990).

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana
homilies
MARCH 25, 1995

EVANGELIUM VITAE

Reverence and Love for Human Life

An enemy ceases to be an enemy for the person who is obliged to love him

41. …Even an enemy ceases to be an enemy for the person who is obliged to love him (cf. Mt 5:38–48; Lk 6:27–35), to “do good” to him (cf. Lk 6:27, 33, 35) and to respond to his immediate needs promptly and with no expectation of repayment (cf. Lk 6:34–35). The height of this love is to pray for one’s enemy. By so doing we achieve harmony with the providential love of God: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt 5:44–45; cf. Lk 6:28, 35).

John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995).

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Featured Excerpts from Papal Encyclicals

Prior to John Paul II (1978)

NOVEMBER 28, 1959

PRINCEPS PASTORUM
Pope John XXIII

Union in Charity

When they see that we not only do not love those who hate us, but do not even reciprocate the love of those who love us, they will mock us and God’s name will be blasphemed

37. Union in prayer and in active participation in the mysteries of the sacred liturgy enormously enriches and completes the Christian life of individuals and of the whole community, and it greatly helps educate the soul to charity, which is the distinguishing mark of the true Christian; a charity, We say, which overcomes all differences between languages and nationalities, and amicably embraces all men, whether brothers or enemies. In this connection,  We like to repeat the words of Our predecessor Pope Clement: “When they (the pagans) hear from us that God says, ‘You have no merit if you love those who love you, but you have merit if you love your enemies and those who hate you’—when they hear this, they admire the grace of your charity; but when they see that we not only do not love those who hate us, but do not even reciprocate the love of those who love us, they will mock us and God’s name will be blasphemed.” The greatest missionary of all, St. Paul the Apostle, at the time when he was on the point of bringing the message of God’s word to the people, as far as the farthest reaches of the Western world, wrote to the Romans and exhorted them to practice “love without pretense.” Earlier, with sublime expression, he had praised that virtue—without which a Christian is nothing.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

MAY 23, 1920

PACEM, DEI MUNUS PULCHERRIMUM
Pope Benedict XV

Abandon Hatred; Pardon Offenses

Abstain not only from false and groundless accusations but also from all intemperance and bitterness of language, all of which is contrary to the law of Christ

7. What has already been said in favour of charity holds good for the inculcation of the pardoning of injuries which is no less solemnly commanded by the Lord: “But I say to you, love your enemies; do good to them that hate you; pray for those that persecute you and calumniate you, that you may be the children of your Father who is in Heaven, Who maketh His sun to rise upon the good and the bad”[7]. Hence that terribly severe warning of the Apostle St. John. “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in himself.”[8]

13. Therefore, Venerable Brethren, We pray you and exhort you in the mercy and charity of Jesus Christ, strive with all zeal and diligence not only to urge the faithful entrusted to your care to abandon hatred and to pardon offences; but, and what is more immediately practical, to promote all those works of Christian benevolence which bring aid to the needy, comfort to the afflicted and protection to the weak, and to give opportune and appropriate assistance of every kind to all who have suffered from the war. It is Our especial wish that you should exhort your priests, as the ministers of peace, to be assiduous in urging this love of one’s neighbour and even of enemies which is the essence of the Christian life, and by “being all things to all men” (1 Cor. 9:22.) and giving an example to others, wage war everywhere on enmity and hatred, thus doing a thing most agreeable to the loving Heart of Jesus and to him who, however unworthy, holds His place on earth. In this connection Catholic writers and journalists should be invited to clothe themselves “as elect of God, holy and beloved, with pity and kindness.” (Col. 3:12.) Let them show this charity in their writings by abstaining not only from false and groundless accusations but also from all intemperance and bitterness of language, all of which is contrary to the law of Christ and does but reopen sores as yet unhealed, seeing that the slightest touch is a serious irritant to a heart whose wounds are recent.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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