During the Angelus, Pope Francis criticised those who "have authority, be it civilian and ecclesiastical”. For him, “Authority provides help, but if it is exercised badly, it becomes oppressive, it does not allow people to grow, and creates a climate of mistrust and hostility that can also lead to corruption”. Indeed, “I personally feel sorry to see people who psychologically live by chasing honours”. The martyred Regina (Rani) Maria Vattalil is beatified. "Her sacrifice is a seed of faith and peace, especially in India” where she was known as ‘Sister smile’.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In today’s Angelus Pope Francis commented this Sunday’s Gospel (Mt, 23:1-12) before the pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square. In his address, the pontiff said that Jesus’s "harsh criticisms of the scribes and the Pharisees" are also "important directions for Christians of all times, thus for us as well" so as to avoid "bad use of authority". Francis also mentioned yesterday’s beatification of Sister Rani (Regina) Maria Vattalil, killed in 1995 for her faith.
Citing the criticisms of the scribes and Pharisees who "speak and do nothing" and "place heavy and difficult burdens on people's shoulders, but do not want to lift them even with a finger," Francis noted that "A frequent flaw in those who exercise authority, be it civilian and ecclesiastical, is to demand from others things, even right ones, that they do not put into practice in person . . .
“This attitude is a bad use of authority, whose first strength should come directly from the good example, helping others do what is right and proper, helping them in the trials that they encounter on the path of doing good. Authority provides help, but if it is exercised badly, it becomes oppressive, it does not allow people to grow, and creates a climate of mistrust and hostility that can also lead to corruption."
"Jesus openly denounces some of the negative behaviours of the scribes and the Pharisees: ‘They love places of honour at banquets, seats of honour in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces,’ (Mt, 23:6-7). This temptation corresponds to human pride and is not always easy to defeat. It is the attitude of living only for appearance."
The "directions" given to the disciples include not having others call them "rabbi" or "master" because "You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers” and “you have but one master, the Messiah.’”
"We, disciples of Jesus," said the pope, " must not seek titles of honour, authority or supremacy. I personally feel sorry to see people who psychologically live by chasing honours . . . for among us there must be a brotherly attitude. We are all brothers and we must in no way overwhelm others. If we received good traits from the Heavenly Father, we must put them in the service of our brothers, and not take advantage of them for our own satisfaction and personal interest. We must not consider ourselves superior to others; modesty is essential for an existence that conforms to the teachings of Jesus, who is gentle and humble in heart and came not to be served but to serve. "
"May the Virgin Mary, ‘more humble and exalted than any other creature’ (Dante, Paradiso, XXXIII, 2), help us, through her motherly intercession, to shun pride and vanity and be docile to the love that comes from God, for the service of our brothers and for their joy, which will also be ours."
After the Marian prayer, Francis noted that yesterday, in Indore (India), Regina (Rani) Maria Vattalil, a martyred nun from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, was beatified.
"Sister Vattalil,” said the pontiff, “bore witness to Christ in love and meekness, and joins the long line of martyrs of our time. Her sacrifice is a seed of faith and peace, especially in India. She was so kind that they called her ‘Sister smile’.