proclamation, which invites us to receive God’s
love and to love him in return with the very love
which is his gift, brings forth in our lives and ac-
tions a primary and fundamental response: to de-
sire, seek and protect the good of others.
179. This inseparable bond between our ac-
ceptance of the message of salvation and gen-
uine fraternal love appears in several scriptural
texts which we would do well to meditate upon,
in order to appreciate all their consequences. The
message is one which we often take for grant-
ed, and can repeat almost mechanically, without
necessarily ensuring that it has a real effect on
our lives and in our communities. How danger-
ous and harmful this is, for it makes us lose our
amazement, our excitement and our zeal for liv-
ing the Gospel of fraternity and justice! God’s
word teaches that our brothers and sisters are the
prolongation of the incarnation for each of us:
“As you did it to one of these, the least of my
brethren, you did it to me” (
25:40). The way
we treat others has a transcendent dimension:
“The measure you give will be the measure you
get” (
7:2). It corresponds to the mercy which
God has shown us: “Be merciful, just as your Fa-
ther is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not
be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be
condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven;
give, and it will be given to you… For the meas-
ure you give will be the measure you get back”
6:36-38). What these passages make clear is
the absolute priority of “going forth from
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