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Santa Marta Jan 19, 2016

God’s Not Interested in ‘Make-up’ Religion, Says Pope in Morning Homily

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis recalls Jesus’ rebuke of Pharisees’ focus on outward appearances

Religious practice that is only concerned with looking good — a “make-up” religion — is not what Jesus is looking for, Pope Francis reminded today at the Casa Santa Marta.

In his homily for morning Mass, the Pope spoke about Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees’ focus on outward appearances.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis noted Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisee who criticized him for not observing the prescribed washing before the meal.

“’Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil.’” And Jesus repeats this many times in the Gospel to these people: Your interior is wicked, is not good and is not free. ‘You are slaves because you have not accepted the justice that comes from God, the justice that Jesus has given us.'”

The Pope noted that Jesus urges us to pray without being seen, without being show-offs. Our Lord, he stressed, instead shows us the path of humility. Pope Francis went on to explain that, as Jesus said, what is important is the freedom given to us by redemption.

“That inner freedom, that freedom to do good deeds in secret without blowing our trumpets because the path of true religion is Jesus’ path: humility and humiliation. And as Paul says to the Philippians, Jesus humiliates himself, empties himself. This is the only way to remove egoism, cupidity, arrogance, vanity and worldliness from ourselves. On the contrary, these people that Jesus rebukes are people who follow a ‘cosmetic’ religion: (about) show, appearance and pretending to be something but inside… Jesus uses a very strong image to describe these people: ‘You are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of corruption.'”

Pope Francis pointed out that Jesus asks us to perform good deeds with humility. He said you can do all the good deeds you want but if you don’t do them with humility, as Jesus taught us, these good deeds count for nothing because they are born from you and your self-assurance rather than from the redemption that Jesus gave us.This same redemption comes via “the path of humility and humiliations because humility never comes without humiliation. And we see Jesus humiliated on the Cross.”

“Let us ask the Lord for us never to get tired of journeying along this path, to never get tired of rejecting this religion of show, of appearance, of pretending. And let us journey silently doing good, freely just as we freely received our inner freedom. And may he guard this inner freedom for all of us. Let us ask for this grace.”

Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Reading 1 GAL 5:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.It is I, Paul, who am telling you
that if you have yourselves circumcised,
Christ will be of no benefit to you.
Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcised
that he is bound to observe the entire law.
You are separated from Christ,
you who are trying to be justified by law;
you have fallen from grace.
For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness.
For in Christ Jesus,
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,
but only faith working through love.

Responsorial Psalm PS 119:41, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48

R. (41a) Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Let your mercy come to me, O LORD,
your salvation according to your promise.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
Take not the word of truth from my mouth,
for in your ordinances is my hope.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will walk at liberty,
because I seek your precepts.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will delight in your commands,
which I love.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.
And I will lift up my hands to your commands
and meditate on your statutes.
R. Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.

Alleluia HEB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 11:37-41

After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

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