Pope Francis greets the crowd at his Angelus address on Feb. 19, 2023. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Feb 19, 2023 / 06:30 am (CNA).

Instead of acting out of self-interest or convenience, the Lord challenges us to love others in excess “without calculation,” Pope Francis said on Sunday.

Speaking from the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Feb. 19, the pope reflected on what it means to “love your enemies,” as Jesus commanded in Sunday’s Gospel.

“Brothers and sisters, the Lord invites us to step out of the logic of self-interest and not to measure love on the scales of calculations and convenience. He invites us not to respond to evil with evil, to dare to do good, to risk in giving, even if we receive little or nothing in return,” he said in his Angelus address.

The pope underlined that this “extraordinary love” has the power to slowly transform conflicts and “heal the wounds of hatred.”

“Jesus’ words challenge us. While we try to remain within the ordinary with utilitarian reasoning, he asks us to open ourselves up to the extraordinary … a freely-given love,” Francis said.

He added: “It is normal for us to love those who love us, and to be friends of those who are friends to us; yet Jesus provokes us by saying: if you act in this way, ‘what more are you doing than others?’”

Pope Francis noted the extraordinary “imbalance of love” in Jesus’ decision to “embrace the cross.”

“God loves us while we are sinners, not because we are good or able to give something back to him,” he said.

“Brothers and sisters, God’s love is a love always in excess, always beyond calculation, always disproportionate. And today he is also asking us to live in this way, because only in this way will we truly bear witness to him,” he added.

The pope acknowledged that it is not easy to love like Christ, but “it is possible because God loves us while we are sinners, not because we are good or able to give something back to him.”

“Let us pray to Our Lady, who by answering God her ‘yes’ without calculation, allowed him to make her the masterpiece of his grace,” he said.

After praying the Angelus prayer in Latin with the crowd gathered below in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis urged people to offer “concrete charity” to those who suffer because of war, poverty, and natural disasters.

“The love of Jesus asks us to let ourselves be touched by the situations of those who are suffering. I am thinking especially of Syria and Turkey, of the many victims of the earthquake, but also of the daily dramas of the dear Ukrainian people,” he said.

Pope Francis also expressed his closeness to the people of New Zealand, where 11 people have died and thousands remain missing after a cyclone struck the country last week.

“Brothers and sisters, let us not forget those who suffer and let our charity be an attentive and concrete charity,” he said.