Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pope: do good with humility, reject a “showy religion"

Pope Francis said Jesus calls upon us to perform good deeds with humility, rejecting a flashy, showy religion, a cosmetic one that “pretends” to do something.
 
Speaking during this morning’s Mass at the Santa Marta House, the pontiff commented the Letter of St Paul to the Galatians and today's Gospel in which Jesus rebukes a Pharisee all focused on appearances and not on the substance of the faith.

To the scholar who had criticised Jesus because he had not washed before dinner, the Lord responded in a clear manner, the pope said. “'Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil’.” Jesus repeated this many times in the Gospel to these people. “Your interior is wicked, it is not good and is not free. You are slaves because you have not accepted the justice that comes from God, the justice that Jesus has given us’."

In another passage from the Gospel, Francis noted that Jesus urges us to pray without being seen, without showing off. Some people are brazen, shameless enough to pray and give alms so they can be admired. The Lord points instead to the path of humility. “What counts, Jesus said, is the freedom the father’s redemption, love and recreation gave us.”

“That inner freedom, that freedom to do good deeds in secret without blowing our trumpets because the path of true religion is Jesus’ path: humility and humiliation. And as Paul says to the Philippians, Jesus humiliates himself, empties himself. This is the only way to remove egoism, cupidity, arrogance, vanity and worldliness from ourselves. On the contrary, these people that Jesus rebukes are people who follow a ‘cosmetic’ religion: (about) show, appearance and pretending to be something but inside… Jesus uses a very strong image to describe these people: ‘You are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of corruption’.”

“Jesus calls us, invites us to perform good deeds with humility. [. . .] You can do all the good deeds you want but if you don’t do them with humility, as Jesus taught us, these good deeds count for nothing because they are born from you and your self-assurance rather than from the redemption that Jesus gave us.” This same redemption “comes via the path of humility and humiliations because humility never comes without humiliation. And we see Jesus humiliated on the Cross.”

Finally, “Let us ask the Lord for us never to get tired of journeying along this path, to never get tired of rejecting this religion of show, of appearance, of pretending. And let us journey silently doing good, freely just as we freely received our inner freedom. And may HE guard this inner freedom for all of us. Let us ask for this grace.”

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