Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - "Lent is when we adjust our life, repair our life, change our life, to draw closer to the Lord", but "in a sincere way", not like the hypocrites who "masquerade as good", "put on a good face", who think they do not need God and that they can be saved from themselves. This was Pope Francis warning today by during the mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta, centered on the theme of conversion.
Vatican Radio reports that the Pope began the homily by recalling that conversion is the key word of Lent, a favorable time "to draw closer" to Jesus. Commenting on the First Reading from the Book of Isaiah, he noted that the Lord's call to conversion of the two "sinful cities" like Sodom and Gomorrah. This all shows that "we need to change our life" to take a good look "at our soul" where we always find something. Lent, is this "adjusting our life", by drawing closer to the Lord. He "wants us closer to Him" and assures us that "He waits for us to forgive us". But the Lord wants "a sincere approach" and warns us against being hypocrites. "What do the hypocrites do? They masquerade, the masquerade as good : they put on a pious face, pray looking up at heaven, make sure they are seen, feel more righteous than others, they despise others. 'Well - they say - I am really Catholic, because my uncle was a great benefactor, this is my family and I have learned ... I know ... that bishop, that cardinal, that father ... I am ...'. They feel better than others. This is hypocrisy. The Lord says, ' No, not that'. No one is righteous by himself. Everybody needs to be justified. And the only one who justifies us is Jesus Christ".
This is why we draw closer to the Lord: "In order not to masquerade as Christian, because when this masquerade passes, you see the reality that they are not Christians." What, then, is "the litmus test to ensure we are not hypocrites and we draw closer to the Lord?" The Lord gives the answer himself in the first reading when he says: "Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. This is the invitation. But "what is the sign that we are on the right road?'. " Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow'. Taking care of other: the sick, the poor, those in need, the ignorant. This is the touchstone. Hypocrites do not know how to do this, they can not, because they are so full of themselves that they are blind to others. When one walks a little' and is close to the Lord, the light of the Lord allows him see these things and one goes to help his brothers. This is the sign, this is the sign of conversion".
Of course, "this is not all there is to conversion", which is in fact "our encounter with Jesus Christ", but "this is a sign that we are with Jesus Christ: to treat our brothers and sisters, the poorest, the sick, as the Lord teaches us" and as we read in chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew. "Lent is to adjust your life, fix your life, change your life, to be closer to the Lord. Hypocrisy is a sign that we are far from the Lord. The hypocrite does not need the Lord, he saves himself, or so he thinks, and disguises herself as a saint. The sign that we have approached the Lord with repentance, asking for forgiveness, is that we care for needy brethren. May the Lord give us all courage and light: the light to know what happens within us and the courage to repent, to be closer to the Lord. It is good to be close to the Lord".