Pope Francis today in the Angelus deplored the “so many calamities, so many” to which Syria and other places at war are suffering, decrying the fate of an 18-month-old baby girl who died Thursday of extreme cold at a refugee camp in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin.

Full text of the Pope’s catechesis before the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today’s Gospel is taken from the “Sermon on the Mount,” and it addresses the argument of the fulfillment of the Law: how I must comply with the Law, what I must do.

Jesus wants to help His listeners to have the right approach to the prescriptions of the Commandments given to Moses, exhorting them to be available to God who educates us to true freedom and responsibility through the Law.

It’s about living it as an instrument of freedom. Let’s not forget this: to live the Law as an instrument of freedom, which helps me to be freer, which helps me not to be a slave of passions and of sin.

We think of the wars, we think of the consequences of wars, we think of that child who died of cold in Syria day before yesterday — so many calamities, so many.

This is the fruit of passions and the people that make war don’t know how to control their passions. They fail to fulfill the Law.

When one yields to temptations and passions, one is not lord and protagonist of one’s life but becomes incapable of managing it with determination and responsibility.

Jesus’ sermon is structured in four antitheses, expressed with the formula “You have heard that it was said… But I say to you.” These antitheses make reference to many situations of daily life: murder, adultery, divorce, and oaths.

Jesus doesn’t abolish the prescriptions regarding these problems, but He explains their more profound meaning and indicates the spirit with which they must be observed.

He encourages us to move from a formal observance of the Law to a substantial observance, accepting the Law in our heart, which is the center of the intentions, decisions, words, and gestures of each one of us.

It is from the heart that good and evil actions come. By accepting God’s Law in the heart, one understands that when one doesn’t love one’s neighbor, one kills oneself and others in some way, because hatred, rivalry, and division kill fraternal charity, which is the basis of interpersonal relationships. And this is true for what I’ve said of wars and also of gossip because the tongue kills.

By accepting God’s Law in one’s heart, one understands that the desires are guided, because not all that one desires can be had, and it’s not good to yield to egoistic and possessive sentiments.

When one accepts God’s Law in the heart one understands that it’s necessary to abandon a lifestyle made of un-kept promises, as well as to pass from the prohibition to swear what is false to the decision not to swear at all, assuming an attitude of full sincerity with all.

And Jesus is aware that it’s not easy to live the Commandments in this profound and totalizing way. So He offers us the help of His love: He came into the world not only to give fulfillment to the Law but also to give us His Grace, that that we can do the Will of God, loving Him and brothers.

All, we can do all with God’s Grace! In fact, holiness is nothing other than guarding this gratuity that God has given us, this Grace.

It’s about trusting and entrusting ourselves to Him, to take the hand that He holds out to us constantly, so that our efforts and our necessary commitment can be sustained by His help, full of goodness and mercy.

Jesus asks us today to progress on the path of love that He has pointed out to us, and that starts from the heart. This is the way to follow to live as Christians.

May the Virgin Mary help us to follow the way marked out to us by Her Son, to attain true joy and to spread justice and peace everywhere.

Full text of the Pope’s greeting after the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims, in particular, those from Croatia and from Serbia, from Trappes in France, from the diocese of Toledo and the students “Colegio Asuncion Cuestablanca” of Madrid.

I greet the faithful of Biancavilla, Fiuggi, Aprilia, Pescara, and Treviso; the Confirmation youngsters of Serravalle Scrivia, Quarto d’Altino, and Rosolina.

I wish you all a happy Sunday. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me.

Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!

(Source: ZENIT; translation: Virginia M. Forrester)

Next on Novena:

Angelus 9/2: Pope renews plea for “beloved and martyred” Syria

12/2: “Christian life has its best expression in mercy”: Pope prays in General Audience for Syria, coronavirus victims

Pope begs for “far-sighted solutions” for peace for “beloved Syrian people, exhausted by war”

Pope: “May Christ bring comfort to the beloved Syrian people who still see no end to the hostilities that have rent their country over the last decade”


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.