Pope: Never Kill Your Neighbor With Words

At Mass in Santa Marta, Speaks Against Weapon of Gossip, Badmouthing

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Pope Francis today resumed celebrations of Mass with Vatican employees in the Casa Santa Marta, drawing from today’s readings to preach against gossip.

«Where there is God there is no hatred, envy or jealousy, and there is no gossip that can kill,» the Pope said, as reported by Vatican Radio.

The liturgy today presents Luke’s account of Jesus’ meeting with the people of Nazareth.

When Jesus told them they lacked faith, they became furious, «rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong» (Luke 4:16-30)

Thus, the Holy Father pointed out, a situation that had started off with admiration was to end with a crime: Their jealousy and envy led them to want to kill Jesus. 

«This kind of thing happens every day in our hearts, in our communities,» the Holy Father observed. And he proposed the example of when someone new enters a community, on the first day, he said, people speak well of him; on the second not so well; and from the third on, gossip and badmouthing starts to spread and they end up «skinning him.»

We are used to gossip, he continued, «but how many times our communities, even our families have become a hell in which we criminally kill our brother with words.»

A community, a family, the Pontiff said, can be destroyed by envy that sows evil in the heart and causes one to speak badly of the other. 

In these days, Pope Francis added, days in which we are speaking so often of peace, we see the victims of weapons, but we must also reflect on our daily weapons: “badmouthing and gossip.»

“So that there is peace in a community, in a family, in a country, in the world, we must be with the Lord,» he said. «And where the Lord is, there is no envy, there is no criminality, there is no hatred, and there are no jealousies. There is brotherhood. Let this be our prayer to the Lord: never kill your neighbor with words.»

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