(Vatican Radio) As in parishes throughout the world, the Gospel of Mark that reccounts
Christ’s teaching on the “greatest of all commandments”, the commandment to love
, was the focus of Pope Benedict XVI 's Angelus reflections this Sunday, the Thirty-first
in Ordinary Time. Despite severe weather warnings there was an unusually large crowd
of pilgrims gathered below the Holy Fathers study window at midday with estimates
speaking of as many as 50 thousand. Emer McCarthy reports Listen:
them all with outreached arms, Pope Benedict began to speak about the nature of love.
God’s love for us and our love for each other, he said, "is one inseparable commandment",
to be done with words and witness. He also added that “before being a command, love
is a gift”, a reality that "God allows us to know and experience”, teaching us to
“always and only want the good, never the bad”, to “see others with His eyes”, with
This, noted Pope Benedict, is because when we are filled
with God's love, we can love even those who don't deserve it, just as God loves us.
he concluded, through his Word and witness teaches us this, moreover; “the person
of Jesus and all His Mystery embody the unity of love of God and neighbour, like the
two arms of the Cross, vertical and horizontal. In the Eucharist He gifts us this
twofold love, gifting Himself, because, nourished by this bread, we love one another
as He has loved us”.
Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of
the Holy Father’s Angelus address:
Dear brothers and sisters!
Sunday's Gospel (MK 12.28 -34) offers us the teaching of Jesus about the greatest
commandment, the commandment of love, which is twofold: love God and love neighbour.
The Saints, whom we have recently celebrated, all together in a single solemn Feast,
are precisely those who, trusting in God's grace, try to live according to this fundamental
law. In fact, those who live a profound relationship with God, just as the child becomes
capable of loving from a good relationship with his mother and father, may put the
commandment of love fully into practice. Saint John of Avila, who I recently proclaimed
a doctor of the Church, writes at the beginning of his treatise on the love of God:
«the cause that mostly pushes our hearts to love of God is considering deeply the
love that He had for us ... This, beyond any benefit, pushes the heart to love; because
he who gives something of benefit to another, gives him something he possesses; but
he who loves, gives himself with everything he has, until he has nothing left to give"(No.
1). Before being a command, love is a gift, a reality that God allows us to know and
experience, so that, like a seed, it can also germinate within us and develop throughout
If the love of God has planted deep roots in a person, then he is
able to love even those who do not deserve it, as does God toward us. The father and
mother do not love their children only when they deserve love: they love them always,
though of course, they make them understand when they are wrong. From God we learn
to want only the good and never the bad. We learn to look at each other not only with
our eyes, but with the eyes of God, which is the gaze of Jesus Christ. A gaze that
starts from the heart and does not stop at the surface, that goes beyond appearances
and manages to capture the deepest desires of the other: to be heard, caring attention;
in a word: love. But there is also the reverse: that by opening myself to the other
person, just as he or she is, by reaching out, by making myself available, I am also
opening myself up to know God, to feel that He is there and is good. Love of God and
love of neighbour are inseparable and are in mutual relationship. Jesus did not invent
one nor the other, but revealed that they are, after all, a single commandment, and
did so not just by Word, but especially with his testimony: the person of Jesus and
all His Mystery embody the unity of love of God and neighbour, like the two arms of
the Cross, vertical and horizontal. In the Eucharist He gifts us this twofold love,
gifting Himself, because, nourished by this bread, we love one another as He has loved
Dear friends, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, we pray that
every Christian knows how to show his faith in the one true God with a clear witness
to love of neighbour.
I greet all the English-speaking visitors, especially
those from the London Oratory School, from Holy Rosary Parish in Billingham-on-Tees,
and from Saint Philip’s School, London. Jesus teaches us that those who love the Lord
with all their heart, soul, mind and strength are not far from the Kingdom. Let us
love the Lord in this way, and our neighbour as ourselves. May God bless all of you!