(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter’s Square on Sunday. In remarks to the faithful ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel reading for this Sunday, August 30, the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, taken from the 7th Chapter of the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark. The reading recounts the questions certain Scribes and Pharisees put to Our Lord, regarding His and the disciples’ observance of certain long-standing customs – or their lack of observance – specifically concerning practices associated with ritual purity.
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“The literal observance of precepts,” explained Pope Francis, “will be fruitless if [said observance] does not change the heart and does not translate into concrete attitudes: opening oneself to encounter with God and His Word in prayer; to seeking justice and peace; to assisting the poor, the weak, the oppressed.” The Holy Father went on to say, “We all know, in our communities, in our parishes, in our neighborhoods, how much harm do people do to the Church, how much scandal do they give, who say they are Catholic and very often go to church, but later, in their daily lives, neglect the family, speak ill of others and so on. This is what Jesus condemned, for this is a Christian counter-witness.”
“The border between good and evil passes not outside of us but within us,” Pope Francis continued. “We can ask ourselves: ‘where is my heart?’ Jesus said, ‘Where your treasure is, there is your heart.’ So, what is my treasure? Is it Jesus, is it His doctrine? Then the heart is good. Or is the treasure something else?” The Holy Father went on to explain that the heart, insofar as it loves that, which is not Christ and His doctrine, must be purified and converted. “Without a purified heart,” he said, “you cannot have truly clean hands and lips that speak sincere words of love.” Pope Francis said, “This only the sincere and purified heart can do.”
The Holy Father concluded his remarks ahead of the Angelus by asking the Lord, through the intercession of the Holy Virgin, to give us a clean heart, a heart free from hypocrisy so that we are able to live according to the spirit of the law and to achieve the law’s true purpose, which is perfection of charity.
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