During the penitential celebration “24 hours for the Lord”, Francis, in his homily, called us to “examine our conscience, because both the Pharisee and the tax collector live within us. Let us not hide behind the hypocrisy of appearances, but let us trust in mercy. Lord our transgressions, our mistakes, our sorrows”.
Mariangela Jaguraba – Vatican News
Within the framework of the Lenten initiative “24 Hours for God”, Pope Francis led the first celebration of penance in the parish of Santa Maria delle Grazie in the Trionfale neighborhood of Rome this Friday afternoon (03/17). .
Francis began his homily by quoting a passage from the Apostle Paul from his letter to the Philippians: “For Christ’s sake, what I counted as gain, I now count as loss”.
Save appearances, leave no room for God
“If we ask ourselves what things he ceased to regard as the basis of his life that he was even happy to find Christ, it is not a question of material truths, but a question of “religious riches.” Piety and zeal, the faithful, observant Pharisee. Yet this religious wealth, which can produce merit, pomp, holy wealth, etc. Traditions were indeed a stumbling block. Then Paul declares: “I lose all things and count them dung in order that I may win Christ. “, said the Pope.
Those who are rich among themselves and their religion believe themselves to be more honest and better than others, and are content to keep to themselves. He considers himself satisfied, but thus he cannot make room for God, because he does not feel his need. He has taken the place of God with his “I” and therefore, though he recites prayers and performs devotional activities, he is not truly conversing with God.
The Pharisees and the public
Then, Jesus gives us a lesson in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. “Both go to the temple to pray, but only one reaches the heart of God. Their body posture speaks more than their gestures: the Gospel says The Pharisee “stood” and prayedAt the same time the The publican, “kept at a distance, durst not raise his eyes to heaven”“. The Pope pondered these things Two postures.
“The Pharisee is on his feet. He is sure of himself, establishing himself as one to be admired for his good conduct, and winning. In this attitude, he prays to God, but in reality he glorifies himself: I go to the temple, I observe. The commandments, I give alms. .. Formally, his prayer is impeccable, outwardly he appears to be a pious and devout man, but instead of opening himself to God and bringing the truth of his heart to him, he hypocritically hides his weaknesses.“, Francis said.
“On the other hand, the publican keeps his distance, he doesn’t try to open the way; he stays in the background. But it is precisely this distance, the manifestation of his sinfulness before God’s holiness, that allows him to experience the blessed and merciful embrace of the Father. God was able to reach him because the man left a place for him, far away. Oh! How true this is even in our family, social and church relationships! True dialogue exists when we know how to preserve a space between ourselves and others, a healthy space that allows each to breathe without being absorbed or destroyed. So that dialogue, that encounter, can reduce the distance and create intimacy,” the Pope underlined.
God is waiting for us below
Brothers and sisters, let us remember this: God comes to us when we distance ourselves from our pride. When we honestly and without pretense bring our weakness to Him, He can close the distance with us. When we feel “touched down,” He reaches out to lift us up, and we trust ourselves to Him in the sincerity of our hearts. God waits for us below, because he is not afraid to descend into the abyss into which we fall, to touch the wounds of our flesh, to accept our poverty, to accept the failures of life, the mistakes we make through weakness or negligence. God waits for us there, especially in confession.
Then the Pope called for an “examination of conscience, because both the Pharisee and the tax collector live within us. Let us not hide behind the hypocrisy of appearances, but let us surrender with faith our inscrutabilities, our faults, our sorrows. As we go. To confess, we put in the background like a layman, we too, our Recognize the distance that separates us between what God has dreamed for life and what we actually are in our daily lives.
“God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” Francis invites us to whisper as laymen, with contrite hearts, during this season of Lent.
“When I forget you or ignore you, when I put my words and the words of the world before your word, when I consider myself righteous and despise others, when I murmur against others, when I do not care about those around me, the poor and the afflicted, the weak or the excluded, for life For the sins against, for the bad witness that tarnishes the beautiful face of Mother Church, for the sins against creation, for my lies, my dishonesty, my openness and dishonesty, for my hidden sins, for the harm – without knowing it – I have done to others, for the good I have done and not done”, came to an end.
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