Do not judge nor despise your brother. This is the exhortation one can read in Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans on which Pope Francis has commented this morning, during the homily of the usual mass at Casa Santa Marta. Despising our brother leads to “excluding him from our small group, to be “selective and this is not what Christians do”, said the Pope. In fact, Christ, with his sacrifice “unites and includes all men in salvation” and, in the Gospel we can see how Jesus seeks to unite and include “the excluded, all those who were out” while “the Pharisees and scribes murmur”.
“The attitude of the scribes and Pharisees is the same, exclusion: ‘We are the perfect ones, we follow the law. Those are sinners, are publicans’. And Jesus’ attitude is inclusion. There are two ways in life: the way of exclusion of people from our community and the way of inclusion. The first one can be small, yet it is the root of all wars: all the calamities, all the wars begin with an exclusion – explains Pope Francis -. There is exclusion from the international community but also from our families, among friends, how many quarrels… whereas the way Jesus shows and teaches us is quite different, and contrary to the other one: it includes”.
Bergoglio has also explained two Jesus’ parables: that of the lost sheep and the woman who lost a coin. Both the pastor and the women work hard to find what they have lost and when they succeed, they feel happy. “They are filled with joy because they have found what had been lost and go from one neighbour to another and to their friends because they are very happy: ‘I have found, I have included’. This is God’s inclusion, against the exclusion of those who judge, who chase people away: ‘No to that one, no to this one, nor to this one… ‘, and creates his small circle of friends which is his environment – has added the Pontiff -. This is the dialectic between exclusion and inclusion. God has included everyone in salvation, everyone! This is the beginning. We with our weaknesses, with our sins, with our own envy, jealousy, always have this attitude of exclusion which, as I said, can end up in wars”.
Reaching the end of his homily, Pope Francis urged all those present to think “at least a bit in their own small way” and never judge, never exclude anyone from our heart, from our prayers, not deny anyone a greeting or a smile. We must “never exclude, we do not have the right to do so!” The Pontiff has concluded exhorting those present to ask for the grace “to be men and women who always include, always, to the extent healthy caution allows us to do so, but always. Do not close the doors to anyone, always with an open heart. God give us this grace”.