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Pope warns against gossip, notes Christ's focus on the heart

Catholic World News - February 17, 2014

Noting that Christ did not wish to abolish the Jewish law, but to bring it to fulfillment, Pope Francis told the crowd of 50,000 who heard his February 16 Angelus address that Christ calls his followers to a greater righteousness than that possessed by the scribes and Pharisees.

Reflecting on the Sunday Gospel reading (Mt. 5:17ff.), Pope Francis emphasized that Jesus taught that “words are able to kill” and warned against gossip and calumny. The Pope then reflected on Christ’s words about the necessity of reconciling with others: “we must be reconciled with our brothers first to manifest our devotion to the Lord in prayer,” he said.

“Jesus does not give importance simply to disciplinary observance and external conduct,” the Pope continued. “He goes to the root of the law, focusing above all on the intention and therefore on the heart of man … We, through faith in Christ, open ourselves to the action of the Spirit, who enables us to live God’s love.”

“In light of this teaching of Christ, every precept reveals its full meaning as a requirement of love, and all [precepts] come together in the greatest commandment: love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself,” he concluded.

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