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Pope at Mass: The grace not to speak ill of others



June 13, 2013: May the Lord grant us the grace to watch our tongues and be careful of what we say of others, because through our weakness and sin, we often find it easier to insult and denigrate than say or do good. This was the lesson at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily Thursday morning at Mass, which he celebrated in his native Spanish. Greeting the men and women who work at Argentina’s embassies and consulates to Italy and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, Pope Francis noted “It’s the first time I have celebrated Mass in Spanish since February 26th!, adding “it feels good!”.

Pope Francis’ homily was inspired by the Gospel of the day, in particular Christ’s words to his disciples "unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven."

The Pope noted how this Gospel follows the Gospel of the Beatitudes and Jesus promise that He had not come to dissolve the law but to fulfill it. Pope Francis said that Christ wants “reform in continuity: from the [planting of the ] seed up to the fruit”. Pope Francis warned that anyone who "enters Christian life" will have “greater demands made of them than others" and not “greater advantages". He said Jesus mentions some of these demands, in particular the problem of “bad relations among brethren". If our heart harbors “bad feelings” towards our brothers, the Pope said, "something is not working and we must convert, we must change." Pope Francis noted that "anger towards a brother is an insult, it’s something almost deathly ", "it kills him." He then observed that, especially in the Latin tradition, there is a "wonderful creativity" in inventing epithets. But, he cautioned, "when this epithet is friendly this is fine, the problem is when there is another kind of epithet”, when the "mechanism of insult" comes into play, which is "a form of denigration of others."

“Y no hace falta ir al psicologo...”

Pope Francis continued: “There is no need to go to a psychologist to know that when we denigrates another person it is because we are unable to grow up and need to belittle others, to feel more important." This, he said, is "an ugly mechanism". Jesus, "with all the simplicity says: "Do not speak ill of one another. Do not denigrate one another. Do not belittle one another”. The Pope noted, "in the end we are all travelling on the same road", "we are all travelling on that road that will take us to the very end." Therefore "if we do not choose a fraternal path, it will end badly, for the person who insults and the insulted". The Pope noted that "if we are not able to keep our tongues in check, we lose”. “Natural aggression, that of Cain toward Abel, repeats itself throughout history." Pope Francis observed that it is not that we are bad, rather "we are weak and sinners." That's why it is "much easier", to "resolve a situation with an insult, with slander, defamation instead of resolving it with good means".

“Yo quisiera pedir al Señor que...”

Pope Francis concluded: “I would ask the Lord to give us all the grace to watch our tongues, to watch what we say about others." “It is a small penance - he added - but it bears a lot of fruit." "Sometimes, we go hungry and think, ‘What a pity I didn’t taste the fruit of a tasty comment against another person." But, he said, "that hunger bears fruit in the long run is good for us." That's why we ask the Lord for this grace: to adapt our lives "to this new law, which is the law of meekness, the law of love, the law of peace, and at least 'prune' our tongues a little, ‘prune’ the comments that we make of others and outbursts that lead us to an easy anger or insult. May the Lord grant us all this grace".




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