Pope: May good works grow within us, for we will be judged by our mercy

Francis comments on the parable of the Good Samaritan: "Let us ask ourselves: Is our faith fruitful? Does it produce good works? Or is it rather sterile, and therefore more dead than alive? Do I stop to help others or simply pass by?". After the Angelus prayer he recalls Sea Sunday: "May Mary, Star of the Sea, watch over you."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Who is my neighbor? Whom do I love as myself? My parents? My friends? My fellow countrymen? Those of the same religion? ... These were the questions posed by Pope Francis before the midday Angelus to a square crowded with listening faithful. Questions taken from today's Gospel passage on the parable of the Good Samaritan: tHe behavior of the man "who does not follow the true religion" is the example chosen by Jesus to explain compassion.

The pontiff explained that: "This parable, in its simple and inspiring story, indicates a way of life, whose center of gravity are not ourselves but the others who, with their difficulties, we encounter on our journey and who challenge us. Others challenge us: and when others do not challenge us, something is not working. Something is in our heart that is not Christian. "

Jesus "uses this parable in the dialogue with a lawyer, about the twofold commandment that allows you to enter into eternal life: to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. 'Yes - that replication lawyer - but tell me, who is my neighbor?'. We too can ask ourselves this question: Who is my neighbor? Whom do I love as myself? My parents? My friends? My fellow countrymen? Those of the same religion? Who is my neighbor? ".

Jesus responds with a parable: "A man, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, was assaulted by robbers, beaten and abandoned. First a priest priest and then a Levite pass by, who, while seeing the wounded man, do not stop and go straight on. Then a Samaritan passes, that is, an inhabitant of Samaria, as such despised by the Jews because he did not observe the true religion; and yet he, when he saw that poor wretch, says the Gospel, "had compassion. He went to him and bandaged his wounds [...], brought him to an inn, and took care of him "; and the next day put him in the care of the Proprietor, paid for it and said he would pay for everything else. "

At this point, continued the Pope, "Jesus turns to the lawyer and asks him:" Which of these three - the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan - do you think was neighbor to he who fell to robbers ?. " And of course, because he was intelligent, he replied: "He who showed mercy on him." In this way Jesus has completely overturned the initial perspective of the doctor of the law - and ours too! - I must not categorize others to decide who is my neighbor and who is not. It depends on me to be forthcoming or not, the decision is mine, it is up to me to be or not to be a neighbour to the person I meet and who needs help, even if he has nothing or perhaps is even hostile. And Jesus concludes: "Go and do likewise.' 'A Good lesson. And he says to each of us: "Go 'and do likewise', be a neighbour to the brother and sister made you see in difficulty".

Go 'and do likewise means: "Do good works, do not just say words that disappear in the wind. I can think of that song 'Words, words, words'. No ... Please, do something. By good works, we do it with love and joy to others, our faith germinates and bears fruit. Let us ask ourselves, each of us responding in our own heart, is our faith is fruitful? Or is it rather sterile, and therefore more dead than alive? Do I stop to help others or simply pass by? Am I like those who select people according to their own pleasure? ".

The Pope concluded, "we should often ask ourselves these questions, because in the end we will be judged on the works of mercy; the Lord will say to us: 'But you, you, you ... you remember that time, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho? I was a half-dead man '(cf. Mt 25.40 to 45). Do you remember? That hungry child was me. Do you remember? That many migrant who you want to drive away, I was one of them. Those grandparents abandoned in nursing homes, it was me. Those sick that no one goes to see, I was me. May the Virgin Mary help us to walk on the path of generous love toward others, the path of the good Samaritan. Help us to live the main commandment that Christ left us. This is the way to enter into eternal life. "

After the Angelus, Francis reminded that today is the "Seafaring Sunday", in support of the pastoral care of seafarers: "I encourage seafarers and fishermen in their work, which is often hard and risky, as well as the chaplains and volunteers in their valuable service. May Mary, Star of the Sea, watch over you! ".

Immediately after the customary greetings to the pilgrims present - with a special greeting for the Argentines present "that make so much noise here" - and finally, the Pope wished everyone a happy Sunday: "Do not forget, please, to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye! ".