Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - Christianity is not "ethics", but "a story of salvation" and the "bending over the flesh" of our brothers and sisters and not being ashamed of it: It is going to break bread with the hungry, cure the sick, the elderly, those who can not give us anything in return: it is not being ashamed of their flesh".
At Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis underscored that our life of faith is closely linked to a life of charity towards the poor, without which what one professes is just hypocrisy. Vatican Radio reports that the Pope centered his reflections on the principle that Christianity is the "flesh" of Christ who bends without being ashamed over those who suffer. Francis was inspired by the dialogue of today's Gospel between Jesus and the doctors of the law, who criticize the disciples for their failure to observe fasting, unlike them and the Pharisees who instead fast a lot. The fact is that the teachers of the law had transformed the observance of the Commandments into a "formality", transforming "religious life" into "ethics" and forgetting the root, that is, "a story of salvation, election, covenant". "To receive the love of a Father from the Lord, to receive from the Lord the identity of a people and then turn it into an ethic is to refuse the gift of love. These hypocritical people are good people, they do whatever they are told to. They seem good! They are ethicists, but ethicists without goodness, because they have lost their sense of belonging to a people! The Lord gifts salvation within a people, in belonging to a people".
Yet already the Prophet Isaiah - in the first reading - had clearly described what fasting was according to the vision of God : "loose the bonds of wickedness", " to free the oppressed " , but also "share your bread with the hungry, welcome the homeless, the poor into your house"," clothe the naked".
"That is the fast that the Lord wants! A person who is fasting that cares about the life of their brother and sister, who is not ashamed - so Isaiah himself says - of the flesh of his brother. Our perfection, our holiness goes ahead with our people, in which we are elected and inserted. Our greatest act of holiness is precisely in the flesh of our brother and in the flesh of Jesus Christ. Our act of holiness today, here on the altar, it is not a hypocritical fast: we are not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, who is here today! It is the mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is going to share your bread with the hungry, cure the sick, the elderly, those who can not give us anything in return: it is not being ashamed of the flesh".
This means that "a more difficult fasting" the fasting of goodness." It's the fast that the Good Samaritan is capable of, who bends down over the injured, and not that of the priest, who looks at the same unfortunate but walks on, perhaps for fear of being contaminated. And so, he concludes, "this is the proposal of the Church today : Am I ashamed of the flesh of my brother, my sister?" . "When I give alms, do I drop the coin without touching their hand? And if I touch it, I do this right away? When I give alms, do I look into the eyes of my brother, my sister? When I know that a person is sick, do I go to visit them? Do I greet them with affection? There is a sign that perhaps will help us, it is a question: Do I caress the sick, the elderly, children or have lost the sense of a caress? These hypocrites did not know how to caress! ... They had forgotten. Do not be ashamed of the flesh of your brother, it is our flesh! We shall be judged on whatever we do for this brother, for this sister".