01/14/2014, 00.00
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Pope: Be Christians like Jesus, who loves people, and not "legalistic", "hypocrites" or "corrupt"

The Pope speaks of "models" of believers: the scribes , "taught and preached but bound people with so many heavy things on his shoulders", the priest Eli, who despises the simple faith, his sons, who pursued power and money" and Jesus "who brings the Word of God, the message of God, of God's love for each of us . "

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - Being Christians like Jesus, "with the zeal to seek people, heal people, to love people" and "not purely legalistic and hypocrites like the scribes and Pharisees.  Do not be corrupt like Eli's sons, or lukewarm like Eli . " They are the " models " of believers of which Pope Francis spoke today at the Mass celebrated at Casa Santa Marta , inspired by the readings of the day.

As reported by Vatican Radio , the Pope noted that the Gospel speaks of " the attitude of Jesus in his catechesis", of how he "taught like someone who had authority, and not like the scribes ." They, he said, " taught, preached bound people under the heavy weights and the poor people could not move forward".

"And Jesus himself says that they did not move these weights even with a finger , no? And he would say to people: ' Do what you say but not what they do'. Incoherent people ... But always these scribes, these Pharisees it is as if they were always beating the people, is not it? 'You need to do this, this and this', the poor people ... And Jesus said, ' But, - he says to them- in this way you close the door to the Kingdom of Heaven. You do not let them in, but neither to you enter'. It is one manner, one way to preach, to teach, to give witness to their faith ... And in this way, there are many who think that faith is something like this ... ".

In the First Reading from the Book of Samuel, we find the figure of Eli, "a poor, weak, lukewarm priest" who "let his children do so many nasty things". Eli was sitting in front of a doorpost of the temple of the Lord and sees Hannah, a lady, "who prayed in her own way, asking for a son." The woman "prayed the way humble people pray: simply, but from her heart, with anguish".  Hannah "moved her lips", like "so many good women do in our churches, in our sanctuaries".  She prayed "and asked for a miracle". And the old Eli looked at her and said, "But, she is a drunk!" and "he despised her". He "was the representative of the faith, the leader of the faith, but his heart did not feel well and he despised this lady". "How many times do God's people not feel loved by those who must bear witness: Christians, Christian laity, priests , bishops ... 'Look at the poor people, they do not understand anything ... They need to take a course in theology to understand properly. 'But why do I have a certain sympathy for this man? Because his heart still had the anointing, because when she explains her situation , Eli says, ' Go in peace, and the God of Israel give you what you asked for . 'His priestly anointing comes forth: the poor man had hidden inside his laziness ... he was lukewarm. And he ends badly, poor man".

His children are not seen in the passage of the First Reading, but they were the ones who ran the Temple, "they were robbers". "They were priests, but robbers". "They sought power, money, exploited people, took advantage of alms, gifts" and "the Lord punishes them heavily". "Such is the figure of the corrupt Christian", "the corrupt layman, the corrupt priest, the corrupt bishop, profiting from their situation, their privilege of faith, from their being Christian" and "their heart ends up corrupt" as happens to Judas. From a corrupt heart comes "betrayal". Judas betrays Jesus. "The sons of Eli are therefore the third model of the believer. And then there's the fourth, Jesus.  Of him the people say: "he teaches with authority: This is a new teaching". What is new is "the power of holiness", "the novelty of Jesus is that he brings the Word of God, the message of God, that of God's love for each of us". Jesus brings God close to the people and to do that he draws close to them: He is close to sinners". Jesus forgives the adulteress, "he speaks of theology with the Samaritan woman, who was no angel". Jesus "seeks people's hearts, Jesus approaches the wounded heart of the people. Jesus is only interested in the person and God". Jesus "wants people to get close, he wants them to seek him and he is moved when he sees them, like sheep without a shepherd". And this attitude "is why people say: But this is a new teaching'." No, "it is not new teaching: it's a new way of doing it. It is evangelical transparency".

"Let us ask the Lord that these two readings will help us in our lives as Christians: all of us. Everybody in their particular place. Not to be purely legalistic, hypocrites, like the scribes and Pharisees. Not to be corrupt not be like the sons of Eli. A not to be lukewarm like Eli, but to be like Jesus, with that zeal to seek the people, heal people , to love people , and with this to say to them: ' but if I do this so small thing then think of how God loves you, how he is your Father . This is the new teaching that God asks from us. We ask for this grace".


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