We are close to the end of Chapter One and our reflection with the Holy Father on Psalm 128. These last four paragraphs (27-30) will find us reflecting on “The Tenderness of an Embrace.”
Jesus embodies the mercy and tenderness of God, so we look briefly at some important passages. Don’t just take the citations here for granted. A helpful reflection for an individual or study group might be to look at one or more of these Gospel stories and reflect more deeply.
Meanwhile, let’s read the context in the document:
27. Christ proposed as the distinctive sign of his disciples the law of love and the gift of self for others (cf. Mt 22:39; Jn 13:34). He did so in stating a principle that fathers and mothers tend to embody in their own lives: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13).
A stretch? I think not. I Corinthians 13 has been appropriated for married couples. Why not the Farewell Discourse from the fourth Gospel? Remember those two citations from John 15 may be utilized at a wedding liturgy.
Love also bears fruit in mercy and forgiveness. We see this in a particular way in the scene of the woman caught in adultery; in front of the Temple, the woman is surrounded by her accusers, but later, alone with Jesus, she meets not condemnation but the admonition to lead a more worthy life (cf. Jn 8:1-11).
The key point here is not that someone gets away with sin, but that the person is steered to that greater worthiness. People have been making laws against crimes for millennia. Has the human way worked with perfect effectiveness? I don’t think so. I’m inclined to discard punishment in favor of encouragement a good bit more than most people, I think.
Amoris Laetitia is online in pdf format here. Read ahead or review, as you wish.