Source: Vatican News
Pope Francis has urged Christians to imitate God's merciful attitude, saying the world could be spared much suffering and many wounds and wars if forgiveness and mercy were "the style of our life."
Speaking to pilgrims gathered in a sunny St Peter's Square on Sunday, the Pope reflected on the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew's Gospel (18:21-35), the Gospel of the day.
A master forgives a servant's enormous loan when he pleaded for time to repay it. But when that servant came across another fellow servant who owed him only a modest amount, he had his fellow servant thrown into prison. Coming to know about it, the master punishes the unmerciful servant.
Pope Francis said God's attitude is represented by the king, while that of the human person is represented by the servant. "The divine attitude is justice pervaded with mercy," he said, "whereas the human attitude is limited to justice." The Pope said Jesus urges us to open ourselves courageously to the power of forgiveness, because "not everything in life can be resolved by justice."
The need for merciful love is also the answer Jesus gives to Peter, who asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who sins against him. "In the symbolic language of the Bible this means that we are called to forgive always," the Pope explained.
He said: "How much suffering, how many wounds, how many wars could be avoided if forgiveness and mercy were the style of our life!"
"It is necessary to apply merciful love to all human relationships: between spouses, between parents and children, within our communities and also in society and politics."
In off the cuff remarks, Pope Francis said he was touched by a line from the First Reading from the Sunday's Liturgy from the Book of Sirach: "Remember your last days, set enmity aside." He said that resentment and hatred from past offences can continue to bother us like a fly. "Forgiving is not something momentary, it is something that we continue doing against that resentment, that hatred that keeps coming back." But thinking about our last days helps us put an end to that endless cycle, he said..
This parable, the Pope said helps us to grasp fully the meaning of the phrase in the "Our Father". "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" (see Mt 6:12). These words, Pope Francis said, contain a decisive truth. "We cannot demand God's forgiveness for ourselves if we in turn do not grant forgiveness to our neighbour. If we do not strive to forgive and to love, we will not be forgiven and loved either."
In conclusion, Pope Francis urged everyone to entrust themselves to the Mother of God so that they may realize how much they are in debt to God and open their hearts to mercy and goodness.
After the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke about the many protests taking place around the world at the present time. He said these protests "express the growing disappointment" people have regarding certain critical political and social situations.
He urged protesters to present their demands "peacefully, without succumbing to the temptation of aggression and violence."
Then he said that all those with responsibilities toward the public and those in government, must "listen to the voice of their citizens and welcome their just aspirations assuring complete respect for human rights and civil liberties."
He also asked churches in areas experiencing protests, to "do everything possible to mediate, to encourage dialogue and work towards reconciliation."
Watch the Angelus with Pope Francis on the Vatican Youtube channel here: www.youtube.com/embed/NBlNRs4Xi0Y
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