For the first time since his election to the papacy, Pope Francis celebrated morning Mass in the Chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae in his native Spanish. Present at the Mass were the men and women who work in the Argentine embassies and consulates in Italy as well as staff from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome.
The Holy Father reflected on the Gospel of St. Matthew where Jesus says to his disciples, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” Those words, the Holy Father noted, were said by Christ shortly after he proclaimed the Beatitudes. The Pope also said that those who wish to enter Christian life, will have “greater demands made of them than others.”
“Jesus mentions some of these demands, Pope Francis said, in particular the problem of bad relations among brethren.”
“If our heart harbors bad feelings towards our brothers something is not working and we must convert, we must change.” The Pope went on to say that anger towards our brethren is an insult, as well as something “almost deadly.”
“In the Latin tradition, there is a wonderful creativity in inventing epithets. But, when this epithet is friendly this is fine, the problem is when there is another kind of epithet, when the mechanism of insult comes into play, which is a form of denigration of others.”
“There is no need to go to a psychologist to know that when we denigrates another person it is because we are unable to grow up and need to belittle others, to feel more important,” the Holy Father continued. “This is an ugly mechanism”.
The Pope noted that to speak ill of another or to belittle one another is a natural aggression, similar to that of Cain towards Abel, repeats itself throughout history not because we are bad, but because “we are weak and sinners.”
“That’s why it is much easier to resolve a situation with an insult, with slander, defamation instead of resolving it with good means,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis concluded his homily by warning those present to ask God for the grace to “watch what we say about others.”
It is a small penance but it bears a lot of fruit,” the Pope said. “Sometimes, we go hungry and think, What a pity I didn’t taste the fruit of a tasty comment against another person. But that hunger bears fruit in the long run is good for us.”
“That is why,” Pope Francis concluded, “we ask the Lord for this grace: to adapt our lives “to this new law, which is the law of meekness, the law of love, the law of peace, and at least ‘prune’ our tongues a little, prune the comments that we make of others and outbursts that lead us to an easy anger or insult. May the Lord grant us all this grace”.