VATICAN CITY, OCTOBER 20, 2017 (Zenit.org).- “Jesus asks us for coherence of life, coherence between what we do and what we live within,” stressed Pope Francis, reflecting on today’s Readings, during the morning Mass of Friday, October 20, 2017 at Saint Martha’s.
“Falsehood does so much harm, hypocrisy does so much harm, it’s a way of living,” observed the Pontiff, whose words were reported by Vatican Radio.
For today’s meditation, Francis was inspired by the First Reading — a passage of the Letter to the Romans (4:1-8), and by Luke’s Gospel (12:1-7), in which Jesus recommends to His disciples to watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees.”
Beginning with the Apostle Paul’s words, the Pontiff reminded that “true forgiveness” doesn’t come from “our works,” but is “free,” because it comes from “His grace,” “from His Will.”
“Our works are the response to God’s free love, who has justified us and forgives us always. And our holiness is in fact to receive this forgiveness always,” explained the Holy Father who, quoting today’s Psalm, added: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven” (Psalm 32 (31), v. 2).
It’s the Lord “who has forgiven us original sin and who forgives us every time we go to Him,” continued Francis, reminding that “we can’t forgive ourselves with our works. He alone forgives.” “We can respond with our works to this forgiveness,” he explained.
The Pope warned against that “other way of seeking justification — that of “appearances.” There are those that pull the “holy card face,” as if they were saints.”
However, they are “hypocrites.” They “make up the soul; they live of makeup; holiness is makeup for them, but in their heart “there is no substance,” rather everything is filthy.”
They lead a “hypocritical life” and their justification is that “of appearance.” In sum, they are “soap bubbles.”
Instead, Jesus “asks us to be truthful, but truthful in our heart,” continued Francis. Therefore, He gives us this advice: “when you pray, do it secretly; when you fast, then yes you can use some makeup, so that no one sees in your face the weakness of fasting; and when you give alms, let your left hand not know what your right hand is doing; do it secretly.”
Therefore, the Holy Father exhorted those present to live “the truth always before God, always.” Because “this truth before God is what makes room for the Lord to forgive us.”
One must pray for “the wisdom to accuse oneself,” concluded Francis, who again quoted the Psalmist: “I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and I did not hide my iniquity. I said: “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; then Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32 (31), v. 5).
ZENIT translation by Virginia M. Forrester