By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
During the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis reflected on the Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill. When life is welcomed as a gift from God, he said, the vision of interpreting life through the lens of eliminating problems can be corrected.
Value of life
The reading from Wisdom 11:24-26 provided the inspiration for the Pope’s remarks. Pope Francis reaffirmed that the Fifth Commandment is concise and to the point. It is “a defending wall for the foundational value in human relations: the value of life”, he said.
Gift of God, not a problem
Pope Francis then noted a contradictory approach to life: the suppression of “human life in the mother’s womb in order to safeguard other values”.
It is not right to 'take out' a human being, no matter how little, to resolve a problem. That is like hiring a hitman to resolve a problem.
Fear is the culprit
Fear leads to violence and rejection, the Pope continued. Welcoming life as a gift of God leads to accepting life in all of its expressions. Pope Francis mentioned that parents are in need of true support should they discover that the baby they are expecting will be disabled. Then he said,
A sick child, …just as an elderly person, needs assistance…. He or she who is presented as a problem is in reality God’s gift who can draw me out of my self-centeredness to make me grow in love.
God’s love is the measure for life
The world’s idols prompt people to reject life, the Pope said. Pope Francis listed these idols: money, power, and success. He called them “mistaken parameters by which to evaluate life”. Whereas “the only authentic measure for life is love, the love that God has for it!”
Secret of God’s love
The secret of love was shown in how God’s own Son lived, the Pope continued.
He became man to the point of assuming rejection, weakness, poverty and pain on the cross. In every sick child, in every weak elderly person, in every desperate migrant, in every life that is fragile and threatened, Christ is seeking our heart so as to disclose the joy of love.
Therefore, the Pope concluded:
Do not despise life! … We need to say to so many young people: do not despise your existence! Stop rejecting the work of God! You are a work of God! … For the Gospel says that 'God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him might not die, but have eternal life' (John 3:16).