“A democracy without respect or does not listen to the people can lead to authoritarianism that, in a pharisaic way, governs and legislates with the aim of defending its power and interests of the party rather than the common good”: this is what Mgr. Eugenio Scarpellini, Bishop of El Alto and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, said during the homily on Sunday, September 2. According to the Bishop, in Bolivia” through external pressures or influential and powerful groups, we want to impose laws and practices contrary to life, the family and the sustainable use of natural resources”.
Taking inspiration from what was affirmed by Jesus in the Sunday Gospel, “I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill (the Law)” (Mt 5, 17), Bishop Scarpellini wondered if fidelity to the commandments of the Lord “comes from the heart”, or is “a simple superficial legalism” or, and would be even worse, it is a way of “exploiting the law of the Lord to justify our bad deeds. “Citing the readings, the Bishop pointed out that “the observance of the commandments is the essence of Israel’s freedom and its existence as a people” and in consequence, the apostle James invites us to put into practice the Word sown in each of us: “A pure and spotless religion before God our Father is: to help the orphans and widows in their afflictions and keep themselves clean from this world”. “This is the conversion that Jesus asks”, concluded Mgr. Scarpellini, “who in his public life is accused of not observing the law of Moses, of instigating treason and not paying taxes”.
As the Pharisees tried to “silence the truth, today we can also silence those who tell us the truth and defend it with consistency and courage, but there will always be some prophet who will raise his voice in defense of his brothers and their dignity as the Father’s children”. Mgr. Scarpellini then noted that “despite many new rules at the service of transparency or the reform of the judicial system, every day we hear news about corruption and the different application of justice.
But Jesus denounces the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who “honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him”. The Lord “moves the meaning of the law, from the lips to the heart”.
In conclusion, the Bishop recalled the words that Pope Francis addressed, in Bolivia, in 2015, to the popular movements: “You are sowers of change. Here in Bolivia, I have heard a phrase which I like: “process of change”. Change seen not as something which will one day result from any one political decision or change in social structure. We know from painful experience that changes of structure which are not accompanied by a sincere conversion of mind and heart sooner or later end up in bureaucratization, corruption, and failure. There must be a change of heart”.