Pope reflects on 'true meaning of religion'

  • (Updated )

Source: Vatican Media

During the Angelus in St Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis advised pilgrims to look to the true meaning of religion which is, remaining faithful to the Word of God and being vigilant against the "pollution of hypocrisy, vanity and greed."

Reflecting on day's Gospel reading from Mark in which Jesus responds to the objections of scribes and Pharisees who accuse his disciples of not following traditional rituals, the Pope said Our Lord knows he is being tested, but he wants to draw these men away from the error in which they have fallen, that is, "to overthrow the will of God by neglecting his commandments to observe human traditions."

The Pope went on to say, the message of Sunday's Gospel is also reinforced by the voice of the Apostle James, who tells us how true religion must be: "to visit orphans and widows who are suffering and not to be contaminated by this world". "Visiting orphans and widows means practicing charity towards others, starting from the neediest, the most fragile, the most marginal. They are the people of whom God takes special care, and asks us to do the same."

He also explained that the phrase "do not let yourself be contaminated by this world" does not mean isolating yourself and closing yourself off to reality…it means to be vigilant so that our way of thinking and acting is not polluted…by vanity, greed, pride."

The Pope said: "Let's do an examination of conscience to see how we welcome the Word of God. On Sunday we listen to it in the Mass. If we listen to it in a distracted or superficial way, it will not help us much. Instead, we must welcome the Word with open mind and heart, as a good ground, so that it is assimilated and bears fruit in concrete life. Jesus says that the Word of God is like wheat, it is a seed that must grow in concrete works. Thus the Word itself purifies our heart and our actions and our relationship with God and with others is freed from hypocrisy."

At the end of his address, Pope Francis mentioned the Beatification in Slovakia on Saturday of Anna Kolesárová. "She's like our Italian Maria Goretti" he said . She was killed, he said, "for resisting those who wanted to violate her dignity and her chastity." This courageous girl, the Pope continued, helps young Christians to remain steadfast in fidelity to the Gospel, even when it requires going against the tide and paying the ultimate price.

The Pope also greeted pilgrims from around the world, naming several Spanish and Italian groups, and participants in a meeting of Vespa motorcyclists.

Tags: Angelus, Pope Francis, Hypocrisy

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