Pope at Angelus: God's justice is the mercy that saves

At the Sunday Angelus on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord celebrated today, Pope Francis explains how Jesus came to fulfill divine justice by saving sinners, showing us that the true justice of God is the "mercy that saves." As Jesus' disciples, we too are called to share each other's burdnes and be compassionate.

By Thaddeus Jones

Following the Mass with baptisms in the Sistine Chapel, Pope Francis led the midday Angelus in Saint Peter's Square. In his address before leading the Marian prayer, he described how Jesus in having himself baptized by John reveals God's justice, as Jesus says to him: “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.”

God's justice

The Pope observed that our idea of justice is often only about righting something that was wronged, but God's justice has a much wider meaning, focusing on "salvation and rebirth," over condemnation of the guilty.

“It is a justice that comes from love, from the depths of compassion and mercy that are the very heart of God, the Father who is moved when we are oppressed by evil and fall under the weight of sins and fragility.”

Saving sinners

God's justice is about making us "his children, righteous" the Pope underscored, and is not intended to level penalties and punishments, but about freeing us from evil, "healing us, raising us up again." 

In this way, the Lord shows that God's justice is "the mercy that saves, the love that shares our human condition," in closeness and solidarity, "entering into our darkness to restore light."

“Benedict XVI affirmed that 'God desired to save us by going to the bottom of this abyss himself so that every person, even those who have fallen so low that they can no longer perceive Heaven, may find God’s hand to cling to and rise from the darkness to see again the light for which he or she was made.'”

Our justice

The Pope concluded by underscoring that we also are called to exercise justice in the same way in our families, communities and the Church. And this means not with harshness, judgement and condemnation, dividing people into the good and the bad, but by focusing on mercy and understanding each other's weaknesses so we can help each other rise above them, in summary, not by dividing, but by sharing. 

“Let us do as Jesus did: let us share, let us carry each other’s burdens, let us look at each other with compassion, let us help each other...Let us pray to Our Lady, who gave life to Jesus, immersing him in our frailty so that we might receive life again.”

After leading the Angelus prayer and imparting his apostolic blessing, Pope Francis recalled that he baptized 13 infants in the Sistine Chapel earlier in the morning, and he offered his blessing to babies around the world being baptized on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. He encouraged everyone to celebrate the day of one's own baptism, the "birthday" of your faith. And if you do not know the date of your baptism, well, find out, he said, and mark it on your calendar, as it is a day to remember, to cherish and to celebrate.

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08 January 2023, 12:20