At his daily morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta, Francis warned against being hypocritical, Vatican Radio reported.
Recalling the day’s Gospel reading in which Jesus asked whether it was lawful to heal a sick person on the Sabbath, the Holy Father reflected on how the path to Christ is realized through love and justice, rather than attachment to the laws.
The Argentine Pontiff reminded those gathered how Jesus described the Pharisees as hypocrites for criticizing him behind his back after he healed a sick man on the Sabbath.
“This way of life of being attached to the laws,” Francis noted, “distanced them from love and from justice. They followed the laws and they neglected justice.”
"They followed the laws and they neglected love,” the Jesuit Pontiff continued, “They were the models. And for these people, Jesus had only one word (to describe them): hypocrites.
Francis went on to call them: “Closed-minded men, men who are so attached to the laws, to the letter of the law that they were always closing the doorway to hope, love and salvation… Men who only knew how to close doors.”
Citing St. Paul, Pope Francis said that the path in which one faithfully abides by the laws allows for one to, at the same time, be just and loving.
“This is the path that Jesus teaches us, totally opposite to that of the doctors of law," that which he said, is the path from love and justice that leads to God.
Instead, the other path, the Pontiff noted, of being attached only to the laws, to the letter of the laws, leads to closure, leads to egoism.
This path leads to egoism, the arrogance of considering oneself to be in the right, to that so-called holiness of appearances.
The Pope said there are the two different paths and Jesus shows us the right one.
"Jesus draws close to us: his closeness is the real proof that we are proceeding along the true path. That’s because it’s the path which God has chosen to save us: through his closeness."
Pope Francis said Jesus’ flesh is the bridge that brings us closer to God and not the letter of the law, and concluded that these examples of Jesus’s closeness and love can help us from sliding into hypocrisy because a hypocritical Christian is a really negative thing.