Pope tells us ‘not to judge, not to condemn, but to forgive’
He was speaking on Wednesday morning during the weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Reflecting on the reading from the Gospel of Luke on being merciful, “just as your Father is merciful”, Pope Francis said that is not a mere slogan, but a commitment for life.
That reading he also said, is where the motto of the Holy Year of Mercy comes from.
And pointing out that Jesus’ call to humanity to be as merciful as the Father can appear daunting, he said Jesus is not referring to “quantity” because of course it would be impossible for us to tend towards God’s absolute perfection, he is just asking us to try and be like Him: full of love, compassion and mercy.
Pope Francis also quoted from the passage which says “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven”.
“All Christians – he said – must forgive! Why? Because all of us, each one of us here in the Square, has been forgiven. During our lives we have all been in need of the Lord’s forgiveness – and if God can forgive me – Francis continued – why should I not forgive the other? Am I greater than God?”
He also explained that by forgiving one another we express the free gift of God’s love and respond to Jesus’s invitation to give freely of our own love, because – he said: “we have has been freely given to us by God, and we will receive only in the measure that we freely give to others”.
So don’t forget – the Pope concluded – mercy and gift, forgiveness and gift – that’s how to make your hearts bigger and full of love.
And after the catechesis and greetings in various languages, the Pope recalled the XXII World Alzheimer Day marked today on the theme “Remember me”.
He invited all those present to ‘remember’ those who are affected by the disease and their families with the care of Mary care and with the tenderness of Jesus making them feel we are close to them.