When His Holiness Pope Francis delivered the Angelus on Sunday, he reflected on Jesus’ great commandment, stressing that “God teaches us to love.
Charlotta Smedes – Vatican City
In reciting the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on the “great commandment,” the focus of today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 22:34-40).
When asked which commandments are the greatest, Jesus answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (…) and (…) your neighbor as yourself.”
In his speech, Pope Francis focused on two points in this passage: first, the fact that God’s love is mentioned first, and second, the implicit relationship between love of God and love of neighbor.
To learn to love
Pope Francis stressed that “the fact that the Lord’s love comes first reminds us that God always precedes us, and precedes us with his infinite tenderness.”
Just as children learn love through the love their parents show them, so we can learn love through God’s love for us.
This is what Paul means when he writes that “strength in the love of Christ prompts love,” the pope said.
Pope Francis said: “We become truly capable of love only by our encounter with him, by surrendering to his love. Let us not resist: let us open our hearts to the Lord every day.”
Reflects God’s love
The second aspect of the commandment that Pope Francis spoke about is the relationship between love of God and love of neighbor.
He said: “By loving our brothers and sisters, we reflect the Father’s love. To reflect the love of God – to love Him – which we do not see through the brother/sister we see.”
How can we love like this? The Pope suggested “taking the first step” as God does with us. “Sometimes, it’s not easy to take the first step and forget the mistakes, but let’s do it,” he said.
Do I feel God’s love?
At the end of his speech, Pope Francis left his audience with some questions:
“Let’s ask ourselves. Am I grateful to the Lord for loving me first? Do I feel God’s love? Do I try to reflect His love? Do I seek to love my brothers and sisters?”
Pope Francis concluded his speech by saying: May the Virgin Mary help us live the greatest commandment of love in our daily lives: to love and let God love us.
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