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Pope’s Homily at Roman Parish of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer – Tor Bella Monaca

We cannot deceive Jesus: He knows us from within

On Sunday, Pope Francis made a pastoral visit to the parish of Mary, Mother of the Redeember at Tor Bella Monaca, in the eastern sector of the diocese of Rome.

After meeting with several groups and realities of the Parish and hearing several Confessions, the Holy Father celebrated the Mass.

The following is a translation of the Pope’s homily:

* * *

In this passage of the Gospel which we just heard, there are two things that strike me: an image and a word.

The image is that of Jesus with the whip in hand who chases out all those who were taking advantage of the Temple to carry out their business. These businessmen who were selling animals for sacrifices, were money-changers … It was the sacred – the sacred Temple, and this filth, out. This is the image. And Jesus takes a whip and goes in, to clean the Temple a bit.

And the phrase, the word, is where it says that so many people believed in Him, a terrible phrase: “but Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25).

We cannot deceive Jesus: He knows us from within. He did not trust himself. He, Jesus, did not trust himself to them. And this can be a good question in the middle of Lent: Can Jesus trust himself to me? Can Jesus trust himself to me or am I two-faced? Do I pretend to be Catholic, to be close to the Church, and then live like a pagan? “But Jesus doesn’t know it, no one is going to tell him.” He does know it. “He needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man.” Jesus knows all that is in our heart: we cannot deceive Jesus. Before  Him, we cannot pretend  to be saints, and close our eyes, behave like this, and then lead a life that is not the one He wills for us. And he knows it. And we all know the name that Jesus gave to these two-faced persons: hypocrites.

It will do us good, today, to enter in our hearts and see Jesus, and say to Him: “Look, Lord, there are good things but also things that aren’t good. Jesus, do you trust yourself to me? I am a sinner …” This doesn’t alarm Jesus. If you say to him: “I am a sinner,” he is not alarmed. What distances Him from us is two-facedness: to have oneself be seen as just in order to cover one’s hidden sin. “But I go to church every Sunday, and I …” Yes, we can say all this. However, if your heart isn’t just, if you do not do justice, if you don’t love those in need of love, if you don’t live according to the spirit of the Beatitudes, you’re not a Catholic. You are a hypocrite. First: can Jesus trust himself to me? In our prayer, let us ask him: Lord, do you trust me?

Second, the gesture. When we enter in our hearts, we find things that aren’t right, that are not good, as Jesus found that filth of trade in the Temple of the money-changers. There is filth also within us; there are sins of egoism, of arrogance, of pride, of cupidity, of envy, of jealousy … so many sins! We can also continue the dialogue with Jesus: “Jesus, do you trust me? I want you to trust me. So I open the door and cleanse my soul.” And we must ask the Lord that, as He went to cleanse the Temple, that he come to cleanse our soul. And we imagine that he comes with a whip of cords … No, that doesn’t cleanse the soul! Do you know what Jesus’ whip is to cleanse our soul? Mercy. Open your heart to Jesus’ mercy! Say: “Jesus, look at all this filth! Come and cleanse us. Cleanse us with Your mercy, with Your gentle words; cleanse us with Your caresses.” And if we open our heart to Jesus’ mercy, so that He cleanses our heart, our soul, Jesus will trust Himself to us.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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