reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
Sunday, February 19, 2023
Sunday Angelus Address with Pope Francis 02.19.2023
During his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis urges the faithful to strive always for the 'extraordinary,' like Jesus who died for us sinners, who could not offer Him anything in return.
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
Do not be complacent, but, like Jesus, always strive to do the 'extraordinary.'
Pope Francis made this exhortation during his Sunday Angelus, as he addressed the thousands of faithful and visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square at midday on Sunday.
The Pope began by observing that Jesus' words to us in the day's Gospel reading according to St. Matthew, are "demanding" and "seem paradoxical," as the Lord invites faithful to turn the other cheek and love their enemies.
It is normal for us to love those who love us, and be friends with those who are friends with us, "yet," Pope Francis highlighted, "Jesus provokes us by saying: if you act in this way, "what extraordinary thing do you do?'"
“What do you do that is extraordinary? This is the point to which I would like to draw your attention today.”
"Extraordinary," the Pope said, is that which goes beyond the limits of the usual, and exceeds usual practices and normal calculations, "dictated by prudence."
The 'extraordinary' is required
Generally speaking, the Holy Father observed, we try to have everything in order and under control, so that it corresponds to our expectations. The Lord, however, the Pope said, "warns us that this is not enough."
“If we remain in the ordinary, in the balance between giving and receiving, things do not change. If God were to follow this logic, we would have no hope of salvation! But, fortunately for us, God's love is always 'extraordinary.'”
God's love, he highlighted, "goes beyond the usual criteria by which we humans live our relationships."
Loving us to the end
Jesus' words, the Pope went on to say, challenge us.
While we try to remain "in the ordinary of utilitarian reasoning," Pope Francis said, Christ asks us to open ourselves to the extraordinary of a gratuitous love.
While we are always trying "to get even," he continued, Christ encourages us "to live the unbalance of love."
“Let us not marvel at this. If God had not unbalanced Himself, we would never have been saved: Jesus would not have come looking for us while we were lost and far away.”
Jesus, he continued, "would not have loved us to the end," "embraced the Cross for us," who did not deserve this, and "could not give Him anything in return."
Christ died for us sinners
God, he said, demonstrates His love for us in the fact that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“God's love is a love always in excess, always beyond calculation, always disproportionate. Today he also asks us to live in this way.”
Only in this way, the Pope underscored, will we truly bear witness to Him, by stepping out of the "logic of self-interest," and not "measuring" love on "the scales of calculations and convenience."
Mary's 'yes' to God
The Lord, he pointed out, invites us not to respond to evil with evil, but "to dare in the good," "risk in the gift," "even if we receive little or nothing in return."
This, he said, is the key for slowly transforming conflicts, shortening distances, and overcoming enmities and hatred.
“We can ask ourselves: do I, in my life, follow the logic of return or that of gratuitousness?”
The extraordinary love of Christ, he observed, is not easy, but is possible.
Pope Francis concluded by inviting faithful to pray to Our Lady, "who by answering God her 'yes' without calculation," "allowed Him to make her the masterpiece of His Grace."