Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Beware of being hypocritical Christians who only look to themselves because they do not accept the leaven of the Holy Spirit, which is the leaven of the Christians who makes us grow, with all the difficulties of the journey, even with all the sins, but always with hope, said Pope Francis at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, inspired by the passage of the Gospel (Lk 12: 1-7) in which Jesus warns against the “leaven of the Pharisees”.
Pope Francis noted Jesus speaks of leaven “that fosters growth”, but there is also a “bad” leaven that “ruins”, that makes people grow “inward”. He refers to that “of the Pharisees, of the doctors of the Law of that time, of the Sadducees”: it is “hypocrisy”, of which the Pontiff often points out the grave danger. These are people who are closed in on themselves, who think above all or only of appearing, who pretend to give alms to then “ blow their own trumpet” to let others know. The concern of these people is “to guard what they have inside”: which is “selfishness”; it is their “security: when there is something that puts them in difficulty” as the man attacked and abandoned “half dead” by the criminals, or “a leper, they look somewhere else”, according to their own “internal laws”. For Christ “This kind of leaven is dangerous. Beware. It is hypocrisy”. Jesus does not tolerate hypocrisy this “appearing” well, with beautiful, polite manners, but with bad habits within. And Jesus himself says: “From the outside you are beautiful, like tombs, but inside is putrefaction or destruction, and rubble”.
This leaven that makes one grow inward: it is a leaven that grows without a future, because in selfishness, in turning to oneself, there is no future, there is no future”. Instead, another type of person “is the one we see with another leaven, which is the opposite: that makes you grow outward. On the contrary, it makes you grow as heirs, to have a legacy”. The Pope continued that, in the Letter to the Ephesians, St Paul points out that “in Christ we have also been made predestined heirs”: the reference is precisely to people projected “outwards”. “Sometimes they make mistakes, but they correct themselves; sometimes they fall, but they rise again. They even sin sometimes, but repent. But always outwards, towards that inheritance, because it has been promised. And these people are joyful people, because they have been promised a very great happiness: that they will be glory, praise of God. And “the leaven – Paul says – of these people is the Holy Spirit”, which impels us to be praise of His glory, of God’s glory”.
The “seal of the Holy Spirit, promised”, is the “deposit of our inheritance”, as we wait for “full redemption”. In fact, the Son of the Lord desires that men and women be “always on the way with the leaven of the Holy Spirit that never makes them grow inward, like the doctors of the Law, like the hypocrites”: the Holy Spirit “drives us outward, towards the horizon”. This is how Jesus wants his Christians: even if “amid difficulties, sufferings, problems and stumbles”, always ahead in the hope “of finding the inheritance, because they have the leaven that is a deposit, that is the Holy Spirit”.
This is how we understand the two people of today’s Gospel: “One who, guided by his own selfishness, grows inward. He has a leaven – selfishness – that makes him grow inward, and only cares to appear good, to appear balanced, good: so no one can see the bad habits they have. They are the hypocrites, and Jesus says: “Beware”. The other “people are Christians: they should be Christians, because there are also hypocrites Christians, who do not accept the leaven of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus warns us: “Watch form the leaven of the Pharisees”. The leaven of Christians is the Holy Spirit, who drives us outward, makes us grow, with all the difficulties of the journey, even with all our sins, but always with hope”. The Holy Spirit is “precisely the deposit of that hope, that praise, that joy”. In fact “in their heart, these people who have the Holy Spirit as their leaven, are joyful, even amid problems”. On the contrary “the hypocrites have forgotten what it means to be joyful”.