Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised. - Leo Tolstoy: (1828-1910: Russian writer.)
Gospel Text: (MK 7:1-13)
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
"Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?"
"Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.
You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."
He went on to say,
"How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
'If someone says to father or mother,
"Any support you might have had from me is qorban"'
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things."
Pope Francis has urged Christians to examine their consciences to understand whether they are growing with good or bad leaven by asking themselves: With what spirit am I doing things? With what spirit am I praying? With what spirit do I turn to others? With a spirit that builds? Or with a spirit that becomes air? In conclusion, he stressed that it was important not to deceive themselves and to tell the truth rather than lies.
The Pope went on to say, “How truthful children are when they confess their sins! Children never ever tell a lie during confession; they never talk about abstract things. ‘I’ve done this, I’ve done that, I’ve done……’ Concrete things. Children talk about concrete things when they are in front of God and in front of other people. Why is that? It’s because they have good leaven, leaven that makes them grow like the Kingdom of God grows. May the Lord give all of us the Holy Spirit and the grace of that lucidity to discern with which leaven I am growing, with which leaven I am behaving. Am I a loyal and transparent person or am I a hypocrite?”