Jesus does not negotiate with the truth.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass today at Casa Santa Marta, as he drew inspiration from today’s Gospel reading in which Christ speaks with the Pharisees about adultery.
The Pope recalled that the Gospel is full of examples of the Pharisees and the doctors of the law attempting ‘to trap’ Jesus by catching Him off guard, seeking to undermine the authority and favor he enjoys with the people, and noted that today we see such an attempt as the Pharisees ask Him if it is licit for a man to put away his wife.
Pope Francis went on to explain the “trap” of “casuistry,” concocted by “a small group of enlightened theologians,” convinced that they “have all the knowledge and wisdom of the people of God.” It is a snare from which Jesus escapes, the Pope said, by going “beyond,” “to the fullness of matrimony.”
Jesus Never Negotiates With the Truth
The Pope recalled that the Lord had already done so with the Sadducees, when they had questioned Him about the woman who had had seven husbands. At the resurrection, Jesus affirmed, she would not be the wife of any of them, because in heaven “they neither marry nor are given in marriage.”
In that case, the Pope said, Christ looked to the “eschatological fullness” of marriage. With the Pharisees, on the other hand, He referred to “the fullness of the harmony of creation.” “God created them male and female,” and “the two became one flesh.”
“They are no longer two, but one flesh, and so no human must separate what God has joined. Both in the case of the levirate marriage and in this case, Jesus responds with the overwhelming truth, with the blunt truth: This is the truth! Always from the fullness. And Jesus never negotiates with the truth.
“And these people,” he continued, “this small group of enlightened theologians, always negotiate with the truth, reducing it to casuistry. And Jesus never negotiates with the truth. And this is the truth about marriage, there is no other.”
“But Jesus,” Pope Francis underscored, “so merciful, He is so great, that he never, never, never, closes the door to sinners.” And so He does not limit Himself to proclaiming the truth of God, but goes on to ask the Pharisees what Moses had established in the Law. And when the Pharisees responded that Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce, Jesus replied that this was permitted “because of the hardness of your hearts.”
In the midst of today’s world of the provisional and sin, we are to remember Jesus has reminded us what we can do, Francis stressed, namely forgive, be understanding, accompany, integrate and discern.
“Jesus is capable of stating this very great truth, and at the same time being so understanding with sinners, with the weak.”
The two things that Jesus teaches us here, the Pope explained, are truth and understanding.
“This is what the ‘enlightened theologians’ fail to do, because they are closed in the trap of ‘a mathematical equation’ of “Can it be done? Can it not be done?’ and are therefore incapable both of great horizons, and of love for human weakness.”
The Pope instead suggested faithful think back to the “delicacy” with which Jesus treated the adulteress woman who was about to be stoned, telling her, ‘Neither do I condemn you: Go forth, and sin no more.’
Pope Francis concluded, praying “May Jesus teach us to have at heart a great adhesion to the truth, and also at heart a great understanding and accompaniment for all our brothers who are in difficulty.