his Sunday Angelus address, Pope
Francis focused on the three parables in today’s Gospelthe lost sheep, the
lost coin, and the prodigal sonand on the centrality of mercy to the Christian
life. “If, in our hearts, there is no mercy, no joy of forgiveness, we are not
in communion with God, even if we observe all his precepts because it is love
that saves, not only the practice of his precepts,” the Holy Father said.
If we live according to the law of ‘an eye for an eye,
a tooth for a tooth’, we cannot come out of the spiral of evil. The Evil One is
smart. He dupes us into thinking that human justice can save us and save the
world. In fact, only God’s justice can save us! And God’s justice revealed
itself on the Cross. …
All three parables
speak of God’s joy. God is joyful! That is something interesting. What is God’s
joy? Forgiveness. God’s joy is forgiveness! It is the joy of the shepherd who
finds his sheep; the joy of the woman who finds her coin; it is the joy of the
father who welcomes home a son who was lost, who was as good as dead, but is
alive again, back home. This is the whole Gospel. This is the whole of
Yet, there is nothing
sentimental about it, nor a sense of ‘doing good’! On the contrary, mercy is
the true force that can save man and the world from the ‘cancer’ of sin, of
moral and spiritual evil. Only love fills the emptiness, the negative chasms
that evil opens in hearts and history. Only love can do this and this is God’s
Jesus is all mercy,
all love. He is God made man.
Everyone here is the lost sheep, the lost coin, and each of us is the son who
has wasted his freedom following false idols, the illusions of happiness, and
lost everything. He is a patient father. He respects our freedom, but remains
loyal. And when we return to Him, he welcomes us as children, into his house,
because he never stops, not even for a moment, to wait for us, with love. And
his heart celebrates every child who comes back. He celebrates because it is
joy. He celebrates when one of us sinners comes back.
What is the danger?
To think that we are just; that we can judge others; that we can judge God
because we think he should punish sinners; condemn them to death, instead of
forgiving them. That is when we risk remaining outside of our Father’s house!
Like the older brother in the parable, who instead of being happy because his
brother was back, got angry with his father who welcomes him and celebrates. …
Only God’s justice
can save us! And God’s justice revealed itself on the Cross. The Cross is God’s
judgment on all of us and on this world. But how does God judge us? By giving
his life for us. Behold the supreme act of justice that defeated once and for
all the Prince of this world. This supreme act of justice is also one of mercy.
Jesus called us all to follow this path. “Be merciful,” he said, “just as [. .
.] your Father is merciful” (Lk, 6:36).
Now I ask you one
thing. Let each one of you think about a person with whom you do not get along,
with whom you are angry. In silence, think about this person, pray for this
person and let yourself become merciful towards this person.