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Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave September 2, 2018, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Sunday - Reading - Mark - Gospel - Today
This Sunday we take up again the reading of Mark’s Gospel. In today’s passage (Cf. Mark 7:1-8.14-15.21-23), Jesus addresses an important subject for all of us believers: the authenticity of our obedience to the Word of God, against every worldly contamination or legalistic formalism. The account begins with the objection of the Scribes and Pharisees, addressed to Jesus, accusing His disciples of not following the ritual precepts according to the traditions. Thus the interlocutors intended to strike at the credibility and authoritativeness of Jesus as Teacher because they said: “But this Teacher allows the disciples not to fulfill the prescriptions of the tradition.” However, Jesus replies strongly, saying: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men’”(vv. 6-7). So says Jesus, in clear and strong words! Hypocrite is, so to speak, one of the strongest adjectives that Jesus uses in the Gospel and He says it addressing the teachers of religion: Doctors of the Law, Scribes . . .“Hypocrite,” says Jesus.
Jesus, in fact, wants to shake the Scribes and the Pharisees from the error in which they have fallen, and, what is this error? It is that of distorting the Will of God, neglecting His Commandments to observe human traditions. Jesus’ reaction is severe because much is at stake: it’s about the truth of the relationship between man and God, the authenticity of religious life. A hypocrite is a liar; he isn’t genuine.
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To despair is to turn your back on God, you can never despair.