Sunday Angelus: 'True religion is to love God and neighbor'


Vatican City, Jun 8, 2008 - Thousands of worshippers and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square despite the summer rains to participate in the Sunday Angelus with Pope Benedict XVI today. Meditating on the Gospel for Sunday, the Holy Father noted that "the true religion is to love God and neighbor" because it "gives value to worship and the practice of the precepts."

The reflections of Pope Benedict sprung from the encounter of Jesus with Matthew, who was at the time still a tax collector. Benedict XVI recalled that Jesus quoted, "I want love and not sacrifice" from the prophet Hosea, and that these words are a "keyword" that "bring us into the heart of Sacred Scripture."

Referring to the call of the apostle and evangelist Matthew, the Pope stressed that "when Jesus went to the house with his disciples and Matthew sat with other publicans" he responded to the shocked Pharisees that: "It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick... I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

The Holy Father also invoked the help of the Virgin Mary asking for her to intercede that we can "always live in the joy of the Christian experience" and he also noted that, "the Virgin arises in us feelings of filial abandonment before God, who is infinite mercy."

In his English remarks, the Pope called on people to, "be prepared to turn away from everything that separates us from God, so that we too can respond generously to his call."