“A love that fails to grow is at risk,” Pope Francis says. “Growth can only occur if we respond to God's grace through constant acts of love, acts of kindness that become ever more frequent, intense, generous, tender and cheerful.”
Our pope has more to say on the subject of love: love for each other, love for God, and love from God.
God’s Visceral Love
“When Jesus saw the crowds…” (Matthew 5:1). In these first words of today’s Gospel which we have just heard, we discover how Jesus wants to encounter us, the way that God always surprises his people (cf. Exodus 3:7). The first thing Jesus does is to look out and see the faces of his people. Those faces awaken God’s visceral love. Jesus’s heart was not moved by ideas or concepts, but by faces, persons. By life calling out for the life that the Father wants to give us.
JANUARY 16, 2018
Jesus underscores two essential aspects for the life of a missionary disciple: the first, that his bond with Jesus is stronger than any other bond; the second, that the missionary brings not himself, but Jesus, and through him the love of the heavenly Father. These two aspects are connected, because the more Jesus is at the center of the heart and of the life of a disciple, the more this disciple is “transparent” to his presence. The two go hand in hand…. Those who allow themselves to be drawn into this bond of love and of life with the Lord Jesus become his representatives, his “ambassadors,” above all in the way of being, of living.
JULY 2, 2017
The soul of a community is measured by how it manages to come together to face times of difficulty and adversity, in order to keep hope alive. By doing so, they give the greatest witness to the Gospel. The Lord tells us: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). For faith opens us to a love that is concrete, not of ideas, but concrete, practical, generous, and compassionate, a love that can build and rebuild hope when it seems that all is lost. In this way, we share in God’s own work, which the apostle John describes in showing us a God who wipes the tears of his children. God carries out this divine work with the same tender love that a mother has when she dries the tears of her children. What a beautiful question the Lord can ask each one of us at the end of the day: how many tears did you dry today?
JANUARY 20, 2018
St. Peter tells us that we are living stones, which form a spiritual edifice (cf. 1 Peter 2:5)…. Don’t build a little chapel which holds only a small group of persons. Jesus asks us to make his living Church so large that it can hold all of humanity, that it can be a home for everyone!
WORLD YOUTH DAY, 2013
Today the Gospel presents the Holy Family to us on the sorrowful road of exile, seeking refuge in Egypt. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus experienced the tragic fate of refugees, which is marked by fear, uncertainty and unease (cf. Matthew 2:13–15, 19–23). Unfortunately, in our own time, millions of families can identify with this sad reality. Almost every day the television and papers carry news of refugees fleeing from hunger, war, and other grave dangers, in search of security and a dignified life for themselves and for their families.
Jesus wanted to belong to a family who experienced these hardships, so that no one would feel excluded from the loving closeness of God. The flight into Egypt caused by Herod’s threat shows us that God is present where man is in danger, where man is suffering, where he is fleeing, where he experiences rejection and abandonment.
DECEMBER 29, 2013
Jesus does not ask his Father that all may be equal, identical, for unity is not meant to neutralize or silence differences. Unity is not an idol or the result of forced integration; it is not a harmony bought at the price of leaving some people on the fringes. The richness of a land is born precisely from the desire of each of its parts to share its wisdom with others. Unity can never be a stifling uniformity imposed by the powerful, or a segregation that does not value the goodness of others. The unity sought and offered by Jesus acknowledges what each people and each culture are called to contribute to this land of blessings. Unity is a reconciled diversity, for it will not allow personal or community wrongs to be perpetrated in its name. We need the riches that each people has to offer, and we must abandon the notion that there are superior or inferior cultures.
JANUARY 17, 2018