ANGELUS: POPE RECALLS FOUR ROMA CHILDREN WHO DIED IN FIRE

February 16, 2011

VATICAN CITY,  (VIS) - At midday Sunday Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Commenting on today’s Gospel reading (the continuation of the “Sermon on the Mount”), the Pope noted how, “following the ‘Beatitudes’, which are His programme for life, Jesus proclaims the new Law, His ‘Torah’ as our Jewish brothers call it. Indeed, the Messiah, at His coming, was also to bring the definitive revelation of the Law, and this is precisely what Jesus says: ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil’. Then, turning to His disciples, He adds: ‘Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’. But”, the Pope asked, “in what does this ‘fullness’ of Christ’s Law, this ‘higher’ justice He requires, consist?

“Jesus explains it by a series of antitheses between the ancient commandments and His way of re-presenting them”, Pope Benedict added. “He begins each phase with: ‘You have heard that it was said …’, then affirms: ‘But I say to you’. … This way of speaking made a great impression on the people … because that ‘I say to you’ meant that He was claiming the authority of God, source of Law, for Himself. The novelty of Jesus consists, essentially, in the fact that He ‘fills’ the commandments with the love of God, with the power of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in Him. And we, through faith in Christ, can open ourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, which makes us capable of experiencing divine love.

“Thus each precept becomes true as a requirement of love, and they all come together in one single commandment: love God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself. ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law’, St. Paul writes”.

“Faced with this requirement”, the Holy Father went on, “the pitiful case of the four Roma children, who died last week on the outskirts of this city when their shack burned down, forces us to face the question whether a more united and fraternal society, more coherent in charity, in other words, more Christian, would not have been able to avoid this tragic event. And this also holds true for many other painful episodes, more or less well-known, which happen every day in our cities and countries”.

“Perhaps it is no mere chance that Jesus’ first great discourse is called the ‘Sermon on the Mount’”, the Holy Father concluded. “Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive the Laws of God and bring them to the Chosen People. Jesus is God’s own Son Who came down from heaven in order to bring us to heaven, to bring us to the heights of God, along the way of love. Indeed, He Himself is this way and all we have to do is to follow Him so as to put God’s will into practice and enter His Kingdom of eternal life”.

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