Dear brothers and sisters, good day!
From the Gospel we hear several words of Jesus to the religious leaders of the people. In addressing these authorities, Jesus uses harsh words: “they speak and do not act” “they do everything so that people will admire them”.
Let us dwell on these two aspects: u the distance between words and deeds ouch the superiority of the outside over the inside.
The distance between words and deeds. With these teachers of Israel, Jesus refutes the double way of their life: they preach one thing but live another. As the prophet Isaiah says: “This people clings to me only with their mouth and honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me”. This danger also threatens us: a double approach that threatens the authenticity of our witness and also our credibility as persons and as Christians. Each of us in our fragility experiences a certain discrepancy between words and actions; but it is another thing to have a divided heart, to “sit on two chairs” without causing us any trouble. For a priest, pastoral worker, politician, teacher or parent, the rule always applies: what you say, what you preach to others, you first commit to live. To be a credible teacher, one must first be a credible witness.
The second aspect is actually a consequence: the priority of the outside over the inside. The scribes and Pharisees, living a double life, hide their inconsistency to protect their outward reputation. Therefore, they behave in such a way as to appear righteous, to “save face”, as they say. This trick is very common: it depicts the face, the life, the heart. These “make-up” people can’t live in the truth. And many times we too experience this temptation to pretend.
Brothers and sisters, let us accept this warning from Jesus and ask ourselves: do I try to live what I preach, do I take care of my inner life in sincerity of heart?
Let us turn to the Blessed Virgin: she who lived with honesty and humility of heart according to God’s will, may she help us to be always credible witnesses of the Gospel.
Pope Francis, 5 November 2023
Translated by the Czech editorial office of the Vatican media, edited by Martin Holík.
Czech original: https://www.vaticannews.va/cs/papez/news/2023-11/angelus-5-11-23.html
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