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Pope Francis during Angelus Pope Francis during Angelus  (ANSA)

Pope at Angelus: love of God and neighbour fundamental to Christian life

Pope Francis during his Sunday Angelus tells the faithful in St Peter’s Square that love is the cornerstone of Jesus’ teaching.

By Vatican News

During his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of the Day in which a doctor of the Law asks Jesus which is "the great commandment".

Jesus responds by saying, “You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind" and "You will love your neighbour as yourself".

Two fundamental precepts

Pope Francis explained that by using these two fundamental precepts, Jesus “establishes two essential cornerstones for believers of all times. The first is that moral and religious life cannot be reduced to an anxious and forced obedience, but must have love as its principle. The second is that love must tend together and inseparably towards God and neighbour.”

The Pope went on to say that “This is one of Jesus’ primary innovations and it helps us understand that what is not expressed in love of neighbour is not true love of God; and, likewise, what is not drawn from one's relationship with God is not true love of neighbour.”

Concluding his answer, Jesus says, "On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets".

On this point, Pope Francis said “This means that all the precepts the Lord has given to his people must be related to love of God and neighbour.”

In fact, he added, “all the commandments serve to implement and express that twofold indivisible love. Love for God is expressed above all in prayer, particularly in adoration. And love for neighbour, which is also called fraternal charity, consists in closeness, listening, sharing, caring for others,” said the Pope.

Jesus and the source of Love

In today's Gospel, Pope Francis underlined, “once again, Jesus helps us to go to the living and gushing source of Love. This spring is God himself, to be loved totally in a communion that nothing and no one can break.”

“Communion is a gift to be invoked every day,” he continued, “but also a personal commitment so that our life does not allow itself to be enslaved by the idols of this world.”

The Pope stressed that “the verification of our journey of conversion and holiness is always in the love of our neighbour. As long as there is a brother or sister to whom we close our hearts, we will still be far from being disciples as Jesus asks of us.”

Pope Francis concluded by saying that God’s “divine mercy does not allow us to be discouraged, on the contrary, He calls us to begin again every day in order to live the Gospel consistently.”

Playback of Angelus, 25 October 2020
25 October 2020, 12:07