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Pope Francis: Hypocrisy, Ambiguity a ‘Virus’

Pope Francis urged Christians to live in the light and to speak clearly, saying that hypocrisy leads people to live in ambiguity and confusion.

“Hypocrisy is a way of living, acting and speaking that isn’t clear,” Francis said in his homily at Mass. “Sometimes smiling, sometimes serious, it is neither light nor darkness,” he said.

Drawing inspiration from the Bible readings of the day, Francis said that Jesus warns against the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. The hypocrite has the allure “of not saying things clearly; the allure of lies, of appearances,” he said. In the Gospels, Jesus says that the “hypocritical Pharisees” are “full of themselves, of vanity,” Francis added, noting they liked to appear in public to show they were important.

This hypocrisy, Francis said, is like a powerful “virus” that can infect us if we don’t watch out.

The Lord’s warning to “beware of the yeast of the Pharisees,” Francis said, is like “a doctor who tells his staff and his aides: ‘Make sure all these people don’t get infected by this virus.’”

At the same time, Francis said, we must not be afraid of hypocrites with all their plotting and deceit, because in the end they will fail. “Jesus says to all: ‘Do not panic, do not be afraid: just beware of the leaven of these people, because all that is hidden will come to light. There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, nor secret that shall not be known,’” he said.

Hiding does not help, because in the end, “everything will be clear,” Francis said.

“In the face of all your fears,” Francis said, “There is a Father. There is a Father who loves you. There is a Father who cares for you.”

The Father watches over you “so you do not get sick, so you do not catch this disease,” he said.

Prayer, he said, is the remedy to “not fall into this self-righteous attitude that is neither light nor darkness,” so that we can always walk the light of God.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome

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