Pope Francis Calls for Vigilance against Hypocrisy "a Hypocrite Is a Liar; He Isn’t Genuine"
September 3, 2018
Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square for his weekly audience on April 11, 2018. (Photo by Andrew Medichini/AP)Pope Francis has called on Catholics to look to the true meaning of religion and be vigilant against the pollution of hypocrisy, vanity and greed.Reflecting on Sunday’s Gospel reading from Mark, in which Jesus addresses the objections of Scribes and Pharisees who accuse his disciples of not following traditional ritual precepts, the pope explained that Jesus knows he is being tested, but wants to “shake them” from their error.He also invited the faithful to welcome the Word with an open mind and heart, adding that it, purifies our heart, our actions and our relationship with God and with others and is freed from hypocrisy. “A hypocrite is a liar; he isn’t genuine,” Francis said.The pope also stressed “the authenticity of our obedience to the World of God, against every worldly contamination of legalistic formalism.”Speaking before the Angelus on Sept. 2, the pope went on to say that the message of Sunday’s Gospel is also reinforced by the Apostle James, who tells us how true religion must be: "to visit orphans and widows who are suffering and not to be contaminated by this world." "Visiting orphans and widows" he said, “means practicing charity towards others, starting from the neediest, the most fragile, the most marginal. They are the people of whom God takes special care, and asks us to do the same."Pope Francis also explained that the phrase "do not let yourself be contaminated by this world" does not mean isolating oneself and closing oneself off to reality… it means to watch that our way of thinking and of acting isn’t polluted by a worldly mentality, that is, by vanity, avarice, and pride.”“In reality, a man or a woman who lives in vanity, in avarice, in pride and at the same time believes and makes him/herself seen as religious and even arrives at condemning others, is a hypocrite,” he said.The next day on Monday, Pope Francis during Mass at Casa Santa Marta, commented on the Gospel of the day saying that “the truth is humble, the truth is silent.”The Gospel reading describes Jesus’ return to Nazareth and meeting opposition in the synagogue after commenting on a passage from the prophet Isaiah.The pope highlighted Jesus’ silent composure not only in this scene but also during the passion. Jesus’ dignity shines through this “silence that triumphs over” his attackers, he said.