Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square Oct. 29 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square Oct. 29 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

God's "dream" for human beings is that they would know they are loved by him, that they would love him in return and that they would love one another, Pope Francis said.

"In fact, we were created to love and be loved," the pope said Oct. 29 before reciting the Angelus prayer with visitors in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis focused his remarks on the Sunday Gospel reading from St. Matthew, in which Jesus tells the Pharisees that the greatest commandments are "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind" and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Jesus lived according to those two commandments, the pope said. His preaching and actions were all motivated by what was essential, "that is, love."

"Love gives energy and fruitfulness to life and to the journey of faith," he said. "Without love, both life and faith remain sterile."

True fidelity to God involves loving God and loving the other people he created, the pope said. "You can do many good things, fulfill many precepts, good things, but if you do not have love, they are useless."

The ideal of love Jesus offers in the Gospel passage, he said, also corresponds to "the most authentic desire of our hearts."

Jesus gave himself in the Eucharist precisely to fulfill that desire and to give people the grace they need to love others like he loves them, the pope said.