Truth

Truth - Pope Francis   


Several Pharisees and Herodians attempt to ensnare Jesus. Only some of them, because “they were not all bad”. They pretended they knew the truth but their intention was something else, they wanted to catch him out. They went to him and said: “Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man... for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God”. However they did not believe in what they were saying. It was flattery. This “is exactly how the flatterer speaks; he uses lovely soft words, excessively sugary words”.

We talked about
corrupt people. Today let us discover the language of the corrupt. What is their language? This: the tongue of hypocrisy. It is not we who say this, it is not I, but Jesus, who was aware of their hypocrisy”. Hypocrisy, he stressed further, is “the language of the corrupt. They do not like the truth. They only like themselves and so they try to deceive and to involve others in their falsehood, in their lying. They have a false heart, they are unable to tell the truth. The very language Satan spoke after the fast in the wilderness: you are hungry, you can turn this stone into bread. Why do you work so hard? Throw yourself down from the temple. This language which seems persuasive, leads to error and to lies”. And with Pilate these Pharisees were to speak the same language: “we have only one king who is Caesar”. This language is an attempt of “diabolical persuasion”. In fact those who were then “praising” Christ “ended by betraying him and sending him to the Cross. Jesus, looking them in the face, said as much, calling them “hypocrites”. Thus hypocrisy is certainly not the “language of truth. For truth, is never alone: it is always accompanied by love. There is no truth without love. Love is the first truth. And if there is no love there is no truth.

Let us ask the Lord today that our way of speaking may be that of the simple, the language of children, the language of God’s children and consequently the language of the truth in love.



Pope Francis   12.09.14   Holy Mass,  Santa Marta    Luke 6: 39-42

In recent days the liturgy has led us to meditate on many Christian attitudes: to give, to be generous, to serve others, to forgive, to be merciful. These are approaches which help the Church to grow. But today especially, the Lord makes us consider one of these approaches, which he has already spoken of, and that is brotherly correction. The bottom line is: When a brother, a sister from the community makes a mistake, how does one correct them?

Always through the liturgy the Lord has given us advice on how to correct others. But today he resumes and says: one must correct him or her, but as a person who sees and not as one who is blind. Luke (6:39-42): “Can a blind man lead a blind man?”.

Thus to correct it is necessary to see clearly. And to follow several rules of behaviour that the Lord himself proposed. First of all, the advice he gives to correct a brother, we heard the other day. It is to take aside your brother who made the error and speak to him, telling him, brother, in this regard, I believe you did not do right!

And to take him aside, indeed, means to correct him with
charity. It would otherwise be like performing surgery without anaesthesia, resulting in a patient’s painful death. And charity is like anaesthesia which helps him to receive the care and to accept the correction. Here then is the first step toward a brother: take him aside, gently, lovingly, and speak to him.

Let us always speak with charity, without wounding, in our communities, parishes, institutions, religious communities, when one must say something to a sister, to a brother.

Along with charity, it is necessary to tell the
truth and never say something that isn’t true. In fact many times in our communities things are said to another person that aren’t true: they are libellous. Or, if they are true however, they harm the reputation of that person.

In this respect the following may be a way to approach a brother: I am telling you this, to you, what you have done. It is true. It isn’t a rumour that I heard. Because rumours wound, they are insults to a person’s reputation, they are strikes at a person’s heart. And so the truth is always needed, even if at times it isn’t good to hear it. In every case if the truth is told with charity and with love, it is easier to accept. This is why it is necessary to speak the truth with charity: this is how one must speak to others about faults.

Jesus speaks of the third rule,
humility, in the passage of Luke’s Gospel: correct others without hypocrisy, that is, with humility. It is good to point out to oneself if you must correct a tiny flaw there, consider that you have so many that are greater. The Lord says this effectively: first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck from the eye of another. Only in this way will you not be blind and will you see clearly to truly help your brother. Thus humility is important in order to recognize that I am a greater sinner than him, a greater sinner than her. Afterwards I must help him and her to correct this flaw.

If I do not perform brotherly correction with charity, do not perform it in truth and do not perform it with humility, I become blind. And if I do not see, it is asked, how do I heal another blind person.

In substance, fraternal correction is an act to heal the body of the Church. It is like mending a hole in the fabric of the Church. However, one must proceed with much sensitivity, like mothers and grandmothers when they mend, and this is the very manner with which one must perform brotherly correction.

On the other hand if you are not capable of performing fraternal reproof with love, with charity, in truth and with humility, you will offend, damage that person’s heart: you will create an extra tale that wounds and you will become a blind hypocrite, as Jesus says. Indeed, the day’s reading from the Gospel of Luke reads: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your eye”. And while it is necessary to recognize oneself as being a greater sinner than the other, as brothers, however, we are called to help to correct him. 

There is a sign which perhaps can help us: when one sees something wrong and feels that he should correct it but perceives a certain pleasure in doing so, then it is time to pay attention, because that is not the Lord’s way. Indeed, in the Lord there is always the cross, the difficulty of doing something good. And love and gentleness always come from the Lord.

This whole line of reasoning on fraternal correction,  demands that we not judge. Even if we Christians are tempted to act as scholars, almost as if to move outside the game of sin and of grace, as if were angels.

This is a temptation that St Paul also speaks of in his First Letter to the Corinthians (9:16-19, 22-27): “lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified”. The Apostle therefore reminds us, “a Christian who, in community, doesn’t do things, even brotherly correction, in charity, in truth and with humility, is disqualified”. Because he has not managed to become a mature Christian. 

Let us pray that the Lord help us in this brotherly service, so beautiful and so agonizing, of helping brothers and sisters to be better, pushing ourselves to always do so with charity, in truth and with humility.



Pope Francis  29.04.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)    Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter    1 John 1: 5 - 2: 2

Pope Francis Talks about Sin 29.04.20

Today is the feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, Patron of Europe. Let us pray for Europe, for the unity of Europe, for the unity of the European Union: so that together we can move forward as brothers and sisters.

In the first letter of St. John the Apostle there are many contrasts: between light and darkness, between lie and truth, between sin and innocence. But the Apostle always calls us to concreteness, to the truth, and tells us that we cannot be in communion with Jesus and walk in darkness, because He is light. It's either one thing or the other: grey is even worse, because grey makes you believe that you are walking in the light, because you are not in darkness and this reassures you. Grey is very treacherous. Neither one thing nor the other.

The Apostle goes on to say: "If we say we are sinless, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us", because we have all sinned, we are all sinners. And here there is one thing that can deceive us: to say "we are all sinners", as we say "hello", "good morning", a usual thing, even a social thing, and so we do not have a true consciousness of sin. No: I am a sinner because of this, this and this. Concreteness. The concreteness of the truth: the truth is always concrete; Lies are ethereal, they're like air, you can't catch them. The truth is concrete. And you can't go and confess your sins in an abstract way: "Yes, I ... yes, once I lost patience, another ...", and abstract things. "I am a sinner." concreteness: "I did this. I thought this. That's what I said." Concreteness is what makes me feel like a true sinner and not a sinner in the air.

Jesus says in the Gospel: "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the little ones." The concreteness of the little ones. It is beautiful to listen to the little ones when they come to confession: they do not say strange things, in the air; they say concrete things, and sometimes too concrete because they have that simplicity that God gives to the little ones. I always remember a child who once came to tell me that he was sad because he had quarrelled with his aunt. But then he went on. I said, "What did you do?" – "Oh well, I was at home, I wanted to go and play football – he was a child. "But the aunt, mum was not there, says, "No, don't go out: you have to do your homework first." And then he said one word after another. And in the end he told her to go where the pepper grows and because he was a child of great geographical culture, he even called her the name of the place to which he wanted his aunt to be sent! They are like this: simple, concrete.

We too must be simple, concrete: concreteness leads you to humility, because humility is concrete. "We are all sinners" is an abstract thing. No: "I am a sinner for this, this and this", and this makes me ashamed to look at Jesus: "Forgive me". The true attitude of the sinner. And if we say we are sinless, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. This abstract attitude is one way of saying that we are sinless : "Yes, we are sinners, yes, I lost patience once ...", but all in the air. I don't realize the reality of my sins. "But, you know, everybody, we all do these things, I'm sorry, I'm sorry ... it gives me pain, I don't want to do it anymore, I don't want to say it anymore, I don't want to think about it anymore." It is important that we, within ourselves, give names to our sins. Concreteness. Because if we keep them in the air, we will end up in darkness. Let's be like the little ones, who say what they feel, what they think: they have not yet learned the art of saying things a little wrapped up so that they are understood without them saying. This is an art of the big people, which so often does us no good.

Yesterday I received a letter from a boy from Caravaggio. His name is Andrea. And he told me things about him: the letters of boys, of children are beautiful, for their concreteness. And he told me that he had heard Mass on television and that he had to "reprove me" for one thing: that I say "Peace be with you", "and you cannot say this because with the pandemic we cannot touch each other". He doesn't see that you do this with your head and don't touch each other. But the freedom to say things as they are.
We too, with the grace of the Lord, have the freedom to say things as they are: "Lord, I am in sin: help me." Like Peter after the first miraculous catch: "Get away from me, Lord, for I am a sinner." To have this wisdom of concreteness. Because the devil wants us to live in tepidly, lukewarm, in the grey: neither good nor bad, nor white nor black: grey. A life doesn't please the Lord. The Lord doesn't like lukewarm people. Concreteness. Not to be a liar. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just forgives us: he forgives us when we are concrete. Spiritual life is so simple, so simple; but we make it complicated with these nuances, and in the end we never arrive.

Let us ask the Lord for the grace of simplicity and for Him to give us this grace that he gives to the simple, the children, the young people who say what they feel, who do not hide what they feel. Even if it's wrong, but they say it. Even with him, saying things: transparency. And don't live a life that's not one thing or the other. The grace of freedom to say these things and also the grace to know well who we are before God.




Pope Francis  08.05.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)   Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter       John 14: 1-6

Pope Francis - Consolation - 08.05.20

Today is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. Let us pray for the people who work in these worthy institutions: that the Lord bless their work that does so much good.

This conversation of Jesus with the disciples takes place at the table, again at the last supper (John 14: 1-6). Jesus is sad and everyone is sad: Jesus said that he would be betrayed by one of them ( John 13:21) and everyone senses that something bad would happen. Jesus begins to console them: because one of the offices, "of the works" of the Lord is consoling. The Lord consoles his disciples and here we see what Jesus' way of consoling is. We have many ways of comforting, from the most authentic, to the those that are more formal, such as those telegrams of condolences: "Deeply saddened for...". It doesn't console anyone, it's a sham, it's the consolation of formality. But how does the Lord console ? This is important to know, because we too, when we have to go through moments of sadness in our lives, learn to perceive what the true consolation of the Lord is. 

And in this passage of the Gospel we see that the Lord always consoles in closeness, with truth and hope. These are the three features of the Lord's consolation. In close proximity, never distant. The beautiful words: "I am here." "I am here, with you." And so often in silence. But we know he's there. He's always there. That closeness that is the style of God, even in the Incarnation, to be close to us. The Lord consoles in closeness. And he does not use empty words, indeed: he prefers silence. The power of closeness, of presence. And he speaks little. But he's close.

A second feature of Jesus' closeness, of Jesus' way of consoling, is the truth: Jesus is truthful. He doesn't say formal things that are lies: "No, don't worry, everything will pass, nothing will happen, it will pass, things pass...".No. He says the truth. He doesn't hide the truth. Because he himself in this passage says: "I am the truth" (John 14:6). And the truth is, "I'm going to go," that is, "I'm going to die" (14: 2-3). We are facing death. It's the truth. And he says it simply and he also says it gently, without hurting: we are facing death. He doesn't hide the truth.

And this is the third feature: Jesus consoles through hope. Yes, it's a bad time. But "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith also in me" (14: 1). I going to tell you something Jesus says, "There are many rooms in my Father's house. I'm going to prepare a place for you" (14: 2). He goes first to open the doors, the doors of that place through which we will all pass, so I hope: "I will come back again and take you with me, so that where I am you may be too" (14: 3). The Lord returns whenever any of us are on our way out of this world. "I will come and I will take you": hope. He will come and take us by the hand and take us. He doesn't say: "No, you will not suffer: it is nothing...". No. He tells the truth: "I am close to you, this is the truth: it is a bad moment, of danger, of death. But do not let your heart be troubled, remain in peace, that peace that is the basis of all consolation, because I will come and take you by the hand to where I will be."

It is not easy to be consoled by the Lord. Many times, in bad times, we get angry with the Lord and do not let him come and speak to us like this, with this tenderness, with this closeness, with this gentleness, with this truth and with this hope.

Let us ask for the grace to learn to allow ourselves be consoled by the Lord. The Lord's consolation is truthful, not deceiving. It's not anaesthesia, no. But it is close, it is truthful and he opens the doors of hope for us.





Pope Francis     16.05.21  Holy Mass, for the community of the faithful of Myanmar resident in Rome St Peter's Basilica - Altar of the Chair       John 17: 11b-19


Holy Mass for the Myanmar resident in Rome 16.05.21

In the last hours of his life, Jesus prays. In those sorrowful moments, as he prepares to take leave of his disciples and this world, Jesus prays for his friends. Even though he bears in his heart and in his flesh all the sin of the world, Jesus continues to love us and pray for us. From his prayer, we learn how to deal with dramatic and painful moments in our own lives. Let us think about one particular word that Jesus uses in his prayer to Father: it is the word “keep”. Dear brothers and sisters, in these days when your beloved country of Myanmar is experiencing violence, conflict and repression, let us ask ourselves: what we are being called to keep?

In the first place, to keep the faith. We need to keep the faith lest we yield to grief or plunge into the despair of those who no longer see a way out. In the Gospel, John tells us that Jesus, before uttering a word, “looked up to heaven” (Jn 17:1). In these, the final hours of his life, Jesus is weighed down by anguish at the prospect of his passion, conscious of the dark night he is about to endure, feeling betrayed and abandoned. Yet in same moment, he looks up to heaven. Jesus lifts his eyes to God. He does not resign himself to evil; he does not let himself be overwhelmed by grief; he does not retreat into the bitterness of the defeated and disappointed; instead, he looks to heaven. This was the same advice he had given his disciples: when Jerusalem is invaded by armies, and people are fleeing in dismay amid fear and devastation, he tells them to “stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Lk 21:28). To keep the faith is to keep our gaze lifted up to heaven, as here on earth, battles are fought and innocent blood is shed. To keep the faith is to refuse to yield to the logic of hatred and vengeance, but to keep our gaze fixed on the God of love, who calls us to be brothers and sisters to one another.

Prayer leads us to trust in God even in times of difficulty. It helps us to hope when things seem hopeless and it sustains us in our everyday struggles. Prayer is not a retreat, an escape, in the face of problems. Instead, it is the only weapon at our disposal for keeping love and hope alive amid the weapons of death. It is not easy to lift our gaze when we are hurting, but faith helps us resist the temptation to turn in on ourselves. We may want to protest, to cry out to God in our pain. We should not be afraid to do so, for this too is prayer. An elderly woman once said to her grandchildren: “being angry with God can also be a form of prayer”; the wisdom of the just and the simple, who know when to lift up their eyes in difficult moments… At times it is a prayer that God hears more than others, since it comes from a wounded heart and the Lord always hears the cry of his people and dries their tears. Dear brothers and sisters, keep looking up to heaven. Keep the faith!

Second, to keep unity. Jesus asks the Father to preserve the unity of his disciples, so that they may be “completely one” (Jn 17:21), one family in which love and fraternity reign. He knew what was in the heart of his disciples; he had seen them argue at times about who was the greatest, who should be in charge. This is a deadly disease: the disease of division. We experience it in our hearts, because we are divided within; we experience it in families and communities, among peoples, even in the Church. Sins against unity abound: envy, jealousy, the pursuit of personal interests rather than the common good, the tendency to judge others. Those little conflicts of ours find a reflection in great conflicts, like the one your country is experiencing in these days. Once partisan interests and the thirst for profit and power take over, conflicts and divisions inevitably break out. The final appeal that Jesus makes before his Passover is an appeal for unity. For division is of the devil, the great divider and the great liar who always creates division.

We are called to keep unity, to take seriously this heartfelt plea of Jesus to the Father: to be completely one, to be a family, to find the courage live in friendship, love and fraternity. What great need we have, especially today, for fraternity! I know that some political and social situations are bigger than we are. Yet commitment to peace and fraternity always comes from below: each person, in little things, can play his or her part. Each of you can make an effort to be, in little things, a builder of fraternity, a sower of fraternity, someone who works to rebuild what is broken rather than fomenting violence. We are also called to do this as a Church; let us promote dialogue, respect for others, care for our brothers and sisters, communion! We cannot allow a partisan way of thinking to enter into the Church, a way of thinking that divides, that puts each individual in first place while casting others aside. This is very destructive: it destroys the family, the Church, the society and everyone of us.

Finally, and third, we are called to keep the truth. Jesus asks the Father to consecrate his disciples in truth as they will be sent throughout the world to carry on his mission. Keeping the truth does not mean defending ideas, becoming guardians of a system of doctrines and dogmas, but remaining bound to Christ and being devoted to his Gospel. Truth, for the apostle John, is Christ himself, the revelation of the Father’s love. Jesus prays that his disciples, although living in the world, will not follow the criteria of this world. They are not to let themselves be enticed by idols, but to keep their friendship with him; they are not to bend the Gospel to human and worldly ways of thinking, but to preserve his message in its integrity. To keep the truth means to be a prophet in every situation in life, in other words to be consecrated to the Gospel and bear witness to it even when that means going against the current. At times, we Christians want to compromise, but the Gospel asks us to be steadfast in the truth and for the truth, offering our lives for others. Amid war, violence and hatred, fidelity to the Gospel and being peacemakers calls for commitment, also through social and political choices, even at the risk of our lives. Only in this way can things change. The Lord has no use for the lukewarm. He wants us to be consecrated in the truth and the beauty of the Gospel, so that we can testify to the joy of God’s kingdom even in the dark night of grief, even when evil seems to have the upper hand.

Dear brothers and sisters, today I wish to lay upon the Lord’s altar the sufferings of his people and to join you in praying that God will convert all hearts to peace. Jesus’ prayer helps us keep the faith, even in times of difficulty, to be builders of unity and to risk our lives for the truth of the Gospel. Please, do not lose hope: even today, Jesus is interceding before the Father, he stands before the Father in his prayer. He shows the Father, in his prayer, the wounds with which he paid for our salvation. In this prayer Jesus intercedes for all of us, praying that the Father will keep us from the evil one and set us free from evil’s power.