In this time of Lent, Francis invites everyone to rediscover the beauty of simplicity, of reality that "must be united to appearance". "Ask the Lord for strength and go humbly forward, with what you can. But do not disguise your soul, because if disguise your soul, the Lord will not recognize you ".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - To be coherent, not to be vain, to no longer be worthy of what we are, Pope Francis returned to condemn hypocrisy, life "without truth", at Mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
Francis was inspired by the first reading, taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah (Is 58.1-9a), to explain "the difference that exists in our life between reality and formality". "Formality – he said - is an expression of reality", but they must proceed "together", otherwise we end up living an existence of "appearances", a life "without truth" in our "heart".
The simplicity of appearances should be rediscovered especially in this period of Lent, through the exercise of fasting, almsgiving and prayer. In fact, Christians should do penance by showing themselves happy; be generous with those in need without “blowing their own trumpet"; address the Father almost "in secret", without seeking the admiration of others.
At the time of Jesus, he recalled, the example was clear in the conduct of the Pharisee and the tax collector, today Catholics feel "just" because they belong to such an "association", they go to "Mass every Sunday" and they are not " like those poor people who do not understand anything ".
"Those who seek appearances, never recognize themselves as sinners and if you say to them: 'But you are also a sinner!' - 'But, yes, we all have sins!', And they relativize everything and return to becoming righteous. They also try to look humble, put on a saintly face: its all for appearance. And when there is this difference between reality and appearance, the Lord uses an adjective: 'Hypocrite' ".
Every individual is tempted by hypocrisy and the time that leads us to Easter can be an opportunity to recognize their inconsistencies, to identify the layers of makeup applied to "hide reality".
Francis then recalled that hypocrisy was a topic that emerged strongly during the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Youth. The young people, he said, are not affected by those who try to appear, but then do not behave accordingly, especially when this hypocrisy is worn by "religious professionals".
Instead, the Lord asks for consistency. "Many Christians, even Catholics, who call themselves practicing Catholics, how they exploit people! How they exploit the workers! As they send them home at the beginning of the summer to employ them at the end, so they have no right to retirement, they have no right to go on. And many of these are called Catholics: they go to Mass on Sundays ... but they do this. And this is a mortal sin! How many humiliates for their workers ".
In this time of Lent, Francis invites everyone to rediscover the beauty of simplicity, of reality that "must be united with appearance". "Ask the Lord for strength and go humbly forward, with what you can. But do not put on your soul, because if you tricks your soul, the Lord will not recognize you. We ask the Lord for the grace of being coherent, of not being vain, of not appearing more worthy of what we are. We ask this grace, in this Lent: the coherence between the formal and the real, between reality and appearances ".