(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Thursday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. In his remarks following the readings of the day, the Holy Father said that Our Lord teaches us three criteria to overcome conflict: realism, coherence, and the [spirit of fraternity rooted in sonship].
How ought we to love one another, according to Jesus? This was the question around which the Holy Father developed his reflections following the Gospel reading, which recounted the Lord’s conversation with His disciples about brotherly love (Mt 5:20-26). Pope Francis observed that Jesus tells us that we must love our neighbor, but not after the manner of the Pharisees, who were not coherent and “used to confuse ideas through smoke and mirrors [It. Facevano tante sfumature di idee] because they were ideologues.” Their attitude, he noted, “was not love,” but “indifference toward one’s neighbor.” Jesus, said Pope Francis, “gives us three criteria”:
“First, a criterion of realism: of sane realism. If you have something against another and you cannot fix, look for a [compromise] solution – at least – only [find a way] to get along with your adversary while you’re on the road. It will not be ideal, but a compromise agreement is a good thing. It is realism.”
“The effort to reach an arrangement,” is a good thing, he added, even though there are those, who maintain that it is “something rather too vulgar.” In order to save many things, in fact, “one must make a deal – and one takes a step, the other takes another step and at least there is peace: a very [imperfect] peace, but a peace agreement [nevertheless].” Jesus, he added, “also says this, [praising] the ability to make agreements between ourselves and overcome the [holier-than-thou attitude – It. giustizia] of the Pharisees, the teachers of the law, of such people.” We face many difficult situations in life, and, “while we are on the road, we make compromises… and in this way we put a stop to hate and strife among us.” The Holy Father went on to warn that “to speak ill of someone is to kill the other, because the act is rooted in hatred all the same.” It is to “kill” him in “a different way: with gossip, with calumny, with defamation Jesus warns us: “The one who calls his brother stupid is killing his brother, because the act is rooted in hate”:
“In our day, we think that ‘not killing our brother’ means simply not actually murdering him – but no – not killing our brother means not [even] insulting him. The insult comes from the same root of the crime: hatred. If you do not hate, and you would not kill your enemy, your brother, then do not insult him either. Nevertheless, a common habit among us is to seek out things to find insulting. There are [also] those, who, in their hatred, express their hate through insults with great flourish – and that hurts. Scolding, insulting – not – let us be realistic: the criterion of realism; the criterion of coherence. Do not kill, do not insult.”
The third criterion that gives us Jesus, said Pope Francis, “is a criterion of fraternity rooted in sonship.” He went on to say, “If we must not kill our brother, it is because he is our brother, that is, because we have the same Father. I cannot go to the Father if I do not have peace with my brother.” The Holy Father exhorted the faithful, saying, “Do not talk to the Father if you are not at peace with your brother – if you do not have at least a compromise agreement:
“Do not talk to the Father without being at peace with your brother. Three criteria: a criterion of realism; a criterion of coherence, meaning not to kill and not even to insult, because those who insult kill; and a criterion of fraternity rooted in sonship. One cannot talk to the Father if one cannot even speak to one’s brother – and this means overcoming the holier-than-thou attitude of the scribes and the Pharisees. This program is not easy, is it? Though, it is the way that Jesus tells us to keep going. Let us ask Him for the grace to move forward in peace among ourselves, with compromises, and always with coherence and in a spirit of fraternity rooted in sonship.”