Pope, do not respond with evil to evil to overcome conflict

“The Lord suggests that we abandon the logic of self-interest and not measure love by the scale of calculation and convenience. He invites us not to respond to evil with evil, to dare to do good, to take the risk of giving, even if we receive little or nothing in return. For it is this love that slowly transforms conflicts, shortens distances, overcomes enmities and heals the wounds of hate.” Pope Francis said this in the Angelus, commenting on the Gospel of the day in which – he noted – the words of Jesus “challenging and seem paradoxical: he invites us to turn the other cheek and to love even our enemies”, where “It is normal that we love those who love us and are friends with those who are friends with us”.

In general, he commented on this “extraordinary” behavior: “Instead, we try to have everything reasonably in order and under control, so that it meets our expectations: for fear of not receiving the consideration or for exposing ourselves too much and then being disappointed, we prefer to love only those who love us, to do good only to those who are good to us, to be generous only to those who can return the favor; and to those who treat us badly, we answer in the same coin, so we are all balanced”.

But for the Lord, the pope warned, “that is not enough! We would say: This is not Christian. If we stay in the ordinary, in the balance between give and take, things don’t change. If God followed this logic, we would have no hope of salvation! But fortunately for us, God’s love is always ‘extraordinary’, that is, it goes beyond the usual criteria by which we humans live our relationships.” Thus “the words of Jesus challenge us”.

“While we try to remain in the ordinary of utilitarian thought – Francis stressed – he invites us to open ourselves to the extraordinary of gratuitous love; while we are always trying to balance the accounts, Christ encourages us to experience the imbalance of love. Jesus He is not a good accountant, he always addresses the imbalance of love. Let’s not let that surprise us.” “If God hadn’t thrown himself off balance, we would never have been saved – he added – Jesus wouldn’t have come to look for us while we were lost and far away, he would have us not loved to the end, he would not have embraced us the cross for us, who did not deserve all this and to whom we could give nothing in return”.

“Here God loves us while we are sinners, not because we are good or because we can give back to him,” the pope said. “God’s love is always excessive, always unpredictable, always disproportionate. Today he also asks us to live in this way, because only in this way will we truly witness to it”. “Therefore we can ask ourselves: Do I, each of us, follow the logic of self-interest or that of gratuitousness in my life? – concluded he – the extraordinary love of Christ is not easy, but it is possible.”

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