Pope Francis has returned to a common theme of his pontificate, this time in his homily for daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta, earlier this morning. The following are quotes from the pontiff, as reported by VaticanNews.va correspondent Adriana Masotti:
They [the Pharisees] were truly an example of formality. But they lacked life. … They were rigid.
Rigidity has been theme often repeated by the pope in connection to the rise of interest in the traditional Latin Mass among youths and young adults, as has been reported by LifeSiteNews in the past.
Continuing his homily, the pope stressed that such “rigid” individuals, like the “hypocritical” Pharisees of Jesus’s time, look to perfect only the external, and therefore – like whited sepulchers – hide corruption, greed, wickedness.
Jesus spoke clearly; He was not a hypocrite. He spoke clearly. And he said to them, “But why do you look at what is external? Look at what is within.” Another time He said to them, “You are whitened sepulchers.” Nice compliment, eh? Beautiful on the outside, all perfect…all perfect…but within, full of rottenness, therefore of greed, of wickedness, He says. Jesus distinguishes between appearances and internal reality. These lords are “doctors of appearances”: always perfect, always. But within, what is there?
The pope continued to focus on the “hypocrisy” of those who seem to “rigidly” adhere to their Catholic Faith. It should also be noted that the pontiff used language similar to that of one of his closest advisers, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, when referring to those who report on the current crisis in the Church. “Jesus describes these people with one word: ‘hypocrites.’ They are people with greedy souls, capable of killing: ‘capable of paying to kill or calumniate, as happens every day. It happens today: they are paid to give bad news, news that smears others.’ But always, under or behind rigidity, there are problems, grave problems. Jesus is not there. The spirit of the world is there.”
Pope Francis ended his homily with a warning: “Be careful around those who are rigid. Be careful around Christians – be they laity, priests, bishops – who present themselves as so ‘perfect,’ rigid. Be careful. There’s no Spirit of God there. They lack the ‘spirit of liberty.’”