Don’t be a hypocrite and judge others as though you have never sinned yourself.
Pope Francis stressed this during his weekly General Audience this morning in St. Peter’s Square, as he reflected on Luke’s Gospel which speaks of the Pharisee Simon and the anonymous sinful woman who Jesus forgives.
Saying this account demonstrates mercy well, the Pope noted that Simon wanted to invite Jesus to his house because he had heard good things about him as a great prophet, and while they were seated at lunch, a woman known by everyone in the city as a sinner enters. Without saying a word, she kneels before Jesus’ feet and bursts into tears; her tears wet Jesus’ feet. She then dries them with her hair, kisses them, and anoints them with a fragrant oil that she has brought with her. Seeing the sincerity of her faith and conversion, the Lord tells her that her sins are forgiven and to go in peace.
Simon, a ‘zealous servant of the law,’ judged others according to appearances, whereas the woman, the Pope contrasted, expressed a sincere heart through her gestures.
The Pharisee disapproves of Jesus letting Himself be ‘contaminated’ by sinners, Francis explained.
Even though Simon invited Jesus, he didn’t want to compromise or engage his life with the Master, whereas the woman, on the contrary, fully trusts in Him with love and reverence, the Pope said.
No Fear of ‘Contamination’
The Word of God, the Holy Father underscored, teaches us to distinguish between sin and the sinner: “With sin, you don’t need to fall to compromises, while the sinners – that is to say, all of us! -we are like the sick, who need to be cured, and to cure them, the doctor must approach them, visit them, you touch them. And naturally, the sick, to be healed, must recognize their need for a doctor.”
Sincerity Brings Freedom
Without fear of being ‘contaminated,’ Jesus forgives her, the Pope recalled, noting how Jesus is free to do this, due to His closeness to God, the Father of Mercies.
“And this closeness to God, the merciful Father, gives freedom to Jesus. Indeed, entering into a relationship with the sinner, Jesus puts an end to that state of isolation in which the merciless judgment of the Pharisee and his fellow citizens – those who exploited her – condemned her.”
Let’s All Take an Inward Look
“All of us are sinners, but we often fall into the temptation of hypocrisy, of believing ourselves better than others and we say: “Look at your sin …”
“Instead,” Francis continued, “we should all look at our sin, our falls, our mistakes and look at the Lord. This is the line of salvation: the relationship between “I” sinner and the Lord.”
The conversion of the sinner before the eyes of all, the Pope reflected, shows that in Him shines the power of God’s mercy, capable of transforming hearts.
The sinful woman teaches us the link between faith, love and gratitude, the Pope said, noting how the one who has been forgiven gains the capacity to love, whereas he to whom little has been forgiven, loves little.
Pope Francis concluded, praying for us to have the gift of faith and urging us to thank God for the great and unmerited love He gives us.