Pope Francis on September 2, 2018, warned of the danger of worldly contamination and hypocrisy in his comments before praying the noonday Angelus with the pilgrims gather in St. Peter’s Square.
He referred first to the day’s gospel from Mark, which stressed: “the authenticity of our obedience to the World of God, against every worldly contamination of legalistic formalism.” Jesus warns in the Gospel:
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.
You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
The Holy Father pointed out that the Scribes and the Pharisees distorted the Word of God; Jesus wanted to “shake them” from their error. “A hypocrite is a liar; he isn’t genuine.”
The Pope also cited James 1:27, pointing out that true religion is ‘to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
“To visit orphans and widows means to practice charity towards one’s neighbor beginning with the most needy, most fragile and most marginalized people,” Francis said. “They are the people that God takes care of in a special way and asks us to do likewise.
“To keep oneself unstained from the world doesn’t mean to isolate and close oneself to reality. No. Here also, the attitude must not be exterior but interior, of substance: it means to watch that our way of thinking and of acting isn’t polluted by a worldly mentality, that is, by vanity, avarice, and pride. In reality, a man or a woman who lives in vanity, in avarice, in pride and at the same time believes and makes him/herself seen as religious and even arrives at condemning others, is a hypocrite.”