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"We need an open heart that is capable of loving" says Pope Francis


May 14, 2013: We need a "big heart" that is wide open and capable of loving. We must also avoid behaving selfishly at all costs because, selfish people, like Judas, do not understand what giving and love are; they become traitors, isolated and alone. This was Pope Francis’ message Tuesday morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta.

Focusing on the Gospel of the day and the contrast between the path of love and that of selfishness, Pope Francis said if we really want to follow Jesus, we must "live life as a gift" to give to others, "not as a treasure to be kept to ourselves". The Pope quoted the words of Christ: " No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." But Tuesday's liturgy, he noted, also presents us with another person: Judas, "who had the exact opposite attitude." And this, he explained, was because Judas "never understood what gift really means":

"Let us think of that moment with the Magdalene, when she washed the feet of Jesus with nard, which was so expensive: it is a religious moment, a moment of gratitude, a moment of love. And he [Judas] stands apart and criticizes her bitterly: 'But ... this could be used for the poor!'. This is the first reference that I personally found in the Gospel of poverty as an ideology. The ideologue does not know what love is, because they do not know how to gift themselves".

Pope Francis continued: Judas stood apart “in his solitude" and this attitude of selfishness grew to the point of his "betrayal of Jesus." He said those who love “give their lives as a gift", the selfish instead "safeguards his life, grows in this selfishness and becomes a traitor, but is always alone." However, those who "give their life for love, are never alone: they are always in the community, part of the family." The Pope warned that those who "isolate their conscience in selfishness," in the end "lose". This is how Judas ended up, the Pope said, he "was an idolater, attached to money"

"And this idolatry has led him to isolate himself from the community of others: this is the drama of the isolated conscience. When a Christian begins to isolate themselves, he or she also insulates his or her conscience from the sense of community, the sense of the Church, from that love that Jesus gives us. Instead, the Christian who gifts his or her life, who loses it, as Jesus says, finds it again, finds it in its fullness. And those who, like Judas, want to keep it for themselves, lose it in the end. John tells us that 'at that moment Satan entered into Judas' heart'. And, we must say: With Satan the payback is rotten. He always rips us off, always! "

Instead Jesus always loves and always gives. And this gift of love, the Pope said, impels us to love "to bear fruit. And the fruit remains. " Pope Francis concluded his homily with an invocation to the Holy Spirit:

"In these days of waiting for the feast of the Holy Spirit, we ask: Come, Holy Spirit, come and give me this big heart, this heart capable of loving with humility, with meekness, an open heart that is capable of loving. And let's ask this grace, of the Holy Spirit. And may He free us always from the other path, the path of selfishness, which eventually ends badly. Let us ask for this grace. "

Tuesday morning Mass was concelebrated by the Archbishop of Medellín, Ricardo Antonio Restrepo Tobón, and was attended staff from the Vatican Museums and students of the Pontifical Portuguese College.