Pope Francis: “The Lord Has Redeemed All of Us…Even Atheists!”

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During the Mass he celebrates every morning at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, which he carried out this morning together with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, Pope Francis spoke about doing good as a principle that unites all humanity.

The pontiff began his reflection with today’s Gospel about the disciples who wanted to prevent a person from outside their group from doing good.

“They complain” because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” But Jesus corrected them. ‘Do not stop him,’ he said. ‘Let him do good’.”

“The disciples,” the Pope said, “were a little ‘intolerant’, set on the idea that they owned the truth, believing that ‘all those who do not have the truth cannot do good.’ And ‘this was wrong’.” In fact, “Jesus ‘broadens the horizon.”

“The root of this possibility of doing good,” which we all have, “lies in creation. The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: Do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, he is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. ‘He cannot.’ He must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, such ‘closing off’ [of the mind], which makes us think that all those outside [of our group] cannot do good, is a barrier that leads to war as well as to what some throughout history have thought [possible], namely killing in the name of God, [the idea] that we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply put, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”

“On the contrary, the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in our heart: Do good and do not do evil. The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, what about the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us first class children of God! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, with everyone doing his own part; if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of meeting: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good! We shall meet there.”

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