Pope’s Morning Homily: Chief Priests Rejected a Repentant Judas

At Casa Santa Marta, warns against those who feel superior

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© PHOTO.VA - Osservatore Romano

[Adapted from Vatican Radio]

Just as Judas tried to repent and found no welcome from the chief priests, so today, there are people in the Church who have forgotten they are to be pastors, and do not welcome the suffering.

Pope Francis made this observation today in celebrating morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope’s Council of Cardinals also participated in the Mass.

 

The Pope focused on Jesus, who in the day’s Gospel turns to the chief priests and the elders of the people, and considers precisely their role. “They had juridical, moral, religious authority,” he said. “They decided everything.” Annas and Caiaphas, for example, “judged Jesus”; Judas, too, went to them to “bargain,” and thus “Jesus was sold.” They arrived at this state of “arrogance and tyranny towards the people,” the Pope said, by instrumentalizing the law:

But a law that they have remade many times: so many times, to the point that they had arrived at 500 commandments. Everything was regulated, everything! A law scientifically constructed, because this people was wise, they understood well. They made all these nuances, no? But it was a law without memory: they had forgotten the First Commandment, which God had given to our father Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” They did not walk: they always stopped in their own convictions. They were not blameless!

The people discarded by the intellectuals of religion

And so, the Pope said, they had forgotten the Ten Commandments of Moses: “With the law they themselves had made – intellectualistic, sophisticated, casuistic – they cancelled the law the Lord had made, they lacked the memory that connects the current moment with Revelation.”

In the past their victim was Jesus; in a similar way, now their victim is “the humble and poor people who trust in the Lord,” “those who are discarded,” those who understand repentance even if they do not fulfill the law, and suffer these injustices. They feel “condemned,” and “abused,” the Pope said, by those who are vain, proud, arrogant. And one who was cast aside by these people, Pope Francis observed, was Judas:

Judas was a traitor, he sinned gravely, eh! He sinned forcefully. But then the Gospel says, “He repented, and went to them to return the money.” And what did they do? “But you were our associate. Be calm… We have the power to forgive you for everything!” No! “Make whatever arrangement you can!” [they said.] “It’s your problem!” And they left him alone: discarded! The poor Judas, a traitor and repentant, was not welcomed by the pastors. Because these people had forgotten what it was to be a pastor. They were the intellectuals of religion, those who had the power, who advanced the catechesis of the people with a morality composed by their own intelligence and not by the revelation.

The evil of clericalism can still be found in the Church today

“A humble people, discarded and beaten by these people.” Even today, the Pope observed, this sometimes happens in the Church. “There is that spirit of clericalism,” he explained: “Clerics feel they are superior, they are far from the people”; they have no time to hear the poor, the suffering, prisoners, the sick”:

The evil of clericalism is a very ugly thing! It is a new edition of these people. And the victim is the same: the poor and humble people that awaits the Lord. The Father has always sought to be close to us: He sent His Son. We are waiting, waiting in joyful expectation, exulting. But the Son didn’t join the game of these people: The Son went with the sick, the poor, the discarded, the publicans, the sinners – and that is scandalous – the prostitutes. Today, too, Jesus says to all of us, and even to those who are seduced by clericalism: “The sinners and the prostitutes will go before you into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

 

 

Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 188

Reading 1 ZEP 3:1-2, 9-13

Thus says the LORD:
Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted,
to the tyrannical city!
She hears no voice,
accepts no correction;
In the LORD she has not trusted,
to her God she has not drawn near.

For then I will change and purify
the lips of the peoples,
That they all may call upon the name of the LORD,
to serve him with one accord;
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
and as far as the recesses of the North,
they shall bring me offerings.

On that day
You need not be ashamed
of all your deeds,
your rebellious actions against me;
For then will I remove from your midst
the proud braggarts,
And you shall no longer exalt yourself
on my holy mountain.
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
Nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
They shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19 AND 23

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, O Lord, do not delay;
forgive the sins of your people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’
but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the Kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

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