Grandfathers and grandmothers of Rome, with the help of the Volunteers from the ‘Santa Marta’ Dispensary in the Vatican handed out copies of the Gospel of St Luke at the Vatican on Sunday after the Pope’s Angelus Address.
“How deserving are grandfathers and grandmothers who pass on the faith to their grandchildren,” said the Pontiff.
The booklet, entitled “The Gospel of Mercy of St Luke”, outlines the corporal and spiritual works of mercy at the back. “It would be nice if you learned them by heart,” the Pope said. “to make it easier to follow them,. I urge you to take this gospel because the mercy of God can work for you.”
Last year also, during Lent, a hundred homeless people distributed Pope’s 30-page prayer booklet for Lent, titled “Custodisci il cuore” (Look after the heart).
Pope Francis focused his pre-Angelus catechesis on Sunday’s Gospel of the famous, beautiful, and dramatic story of the woman caught in adultery.
He recounted the episode of the woman caught in flagrant adultery who, in accordance with the prescriptions of the Book of Leviticus (cf. 20: 10), was condemned to stoning. She was brought to Jesus by the Scribes and Pharisees in order “to test him” and impel him to take a false step. They were aware of his mercy and his love for sinners and were curious to see how he would manage in such a case, if Jesus follows the law, he loses his reputation, whereas if he shows her clemency, he goes against the law.
The Scribes and Pharisees “seemed to have had a thirst for blood,” the Pope noted.
However, Jesus disarmed them of their intentions, and said: whoever is without sin, cast the first stone. This prompted them to walk away in shame, the Pope added.
The Pope inviting everyone to self-reflection said, “How good it is to “have the courage to drop the stones we have for throwing at others, and to think a little about our sins.”
Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (Jn 8: 7).
After the Scribes and Pharisees leave the scene, Jesus turns to the woman with “eyes full of mercy and full of love” and asks her where her accusers have gone.
Observing that Jesus treated her great respect for the dignity of a person “perhaps for the first time,” the Pope said: “she is not her sin; she has the dignity of a person.”
Such treatment “can change lives,” and help a person leave behind slavery and take “a new path.”
This Gospel passage clearly teaches that Christian forgiveness is not synonymous with mere tolerance, but implies that God does not forgive evil but the individual, and he teaches us to distinguish the evil act, which as such must be condemned, from the person who has committed it, to whom he offers the possibility of changing.
“God does not nail down our sin,” nor does he “identify us with the wrongs we have done. We have a name, and God does not identify this name with the sin we have committed,” the Holy Father added.