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True Christians are able to turn the other cheek, says Pope

By on Monday, 17 June 2013

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

True Christians are able to turn the other cheek because they realise that Jesus Christ is “all” and everything else is “nothing”, Pope Francis said at Mass this morning.

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus urges his disciples to “offer no resistance to one who is evil”, the Pope said: “A Christian is a person who opens up his or her heart with this spirit of benevolence, because he or she has ‘all’: Jesus Christ. The other things are ‘nothing’. Some are good, they have a purpose, but in the moment of choice he or she always chooses ‘all’, with that meekness, that Christian meekness that is the sign of Jesus’s disciples: meekness and benevolence.

“To live like this is not easy, because you really do receive slaps! And on both cheeks! But a Christian is meek, a Christian is benevolent: he or she opens up his or her heart. Sometimes we come across these Christians with little hearts, with shrunken hearts… This is not Christianity: this is selfishness, masked as Christianity.”

According to Vatican Radio, he added: “A true Christian knows how to solve this bipolar opposition, this tension that exists between ‘all’ and ‘nothing’, just as Jesus has taught us: ‘First search for God’s Kingdom and its justice, the rest comes afterwards.’

“God’s Kingdom is ‘all’, the other is secondary. And all Christian errors, all the Church’s errors, all our errors stem from when we say ‘nothing’ is ‘all’, and to ‘all’ we say it does not count… Following Jesus is not easy, but it’s not difficult either, because on the path of love the Lord does things in such a way that we can go forward; it is the Lord himself who opens up our heart.

“When one takes on an option for ‘nothing’, it is from that option that conflicts arise in families, in friendships, between friends, in society. Conflicts that end in war: for ‘nothing’! ‘Nothing’ is always the seed of wars. Because it is the seed of selfishness. ‘All’ is Jesus. Let us ask the Lord to open up our heart, to make us humble, meek and benevolent because we have ‘all’ in Him. And let’s ask him to help us avoid creating everyday problems stemming from ‘nothing’.”

Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of the Financial Information Authority, concelebrated the Mass in the chapel of the Pope’s residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila was also present.

  • Julian Lord

    The practical problem that I see with this advice, absolutely excellent as it is for the conduct of one’s personal life, is that it does not address the question of what to do when we see the cheeks of others than ourselves being slapped.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    When A TRUE APOSTLE leads THE CHURCH all problems are solved. It is the Lord himself who accomplishes great things through him.

  • Erin Pascal

    Very good message from Pope Francis. I will definitely remember the message in his words. ‘All’ is Jesus and if you search for Him, the rest will come afterwards. This is a very timely reminder for me. Thank you so much for sharing this very good read!

  • 1Maccabeus

    I agree – I have always understood it to apply to ourselves in the everyday world of give and take, without taking offence at every little comment or slight – but that when others are threatened or attacked it is our duty to intervene to stop the aggressor. Of course, if we too are attacked physically in any life-threatening way or a way that threatens real physical injury, we also have the right to self-defense.

  • James M

    The phrase “True Christian” should be avoided like the plague.

  • paulpriest

    We make sure we always go around in twos [wink!]

    We really do demean and detract from God’s words when we reduce this to mere personal injury – on whatever plane…
    This is not a command to never retaliate
    This is a command from Christ :

    ‘whatever good you think you are doing by playing them at their own game to their rules – DON’T! Heaven has its own rules – and you must not be tempted to sway from them”
    A lesson we still haven’t learned… a command we repeatedly ignore…and despite our best intentions we invariably fail and need God to rescue from the self inflicted ensuing chaos.