Don’t let this ‘Pharisee’ bark you off your faith.
The Pope gave some helpful advice on the FrancisGospel and the types of Christians out there. Which one are you?
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ homily this morning focused on the Gospel account of Bartimaeus, the blind man who cried out to Jesus to be healed, and whom the disciples called to be silent. The Gospel led the Holy Father to reflect on three different groups of Christians.
First, there are Christians who are concerned only with their own relationship with Jesus, a “closed, selfish” relationship, who do not hear the cries of others:
“This group of people, even today, do not hear the cry of so many people who need Jesus. A group of people who are indifferent: they do not hear, they think that life is their own little group; they are content; they are deaf to the clamour of so many people who need salvation, who need the help of Jesus, who need the Church. These people are selfish, they live for themselves alone. They are unable to hear the voice of Jesus.”
It is selfish to love Jesus? Doesn’t loving Jesus mean following him? Can you care about your relationship with Jesus yet ignore everyone else? Do such people exist or is this some rhetorical device? I know they exist in Hollywood and on the lips of demagogues.
Then, the Pope continued, “there are those who hear this cry for help, but want to silence it,” like the disciples when they sent away the children, “so that they would not disturb the Master”: “He was their Master — He was for them, not for everyone. These people send away from Jesus those who cry out, who need the faith, who need salvation.” In this group one finds the “men of affairs, who are close to Jesus,” who are in the temple. They seem “religious,” but “Jesus chased them away because they were doing business there, in the house of God.” There are those who “do not want to hear the cry for help, but prefer to take care of their business, and use the people of God, use the Church for their own affairs.” In this group there are Christians “who do not bear witness”:
“They are Christians in name, parlour room Christians, Christians at receptions, but their interior life is not Christian, it is worldly. Someone who calls himself Christian and lives like a worlding drives away those who cry out for help from Jesus. And then there are the rigorists, those whom Jesus rebukes, those who place such heavy weights on the backs of the people. Jesus devotes the whole of the twenty-third chapter of St Matthew to them: ‘Hypocrites,’ he says to them, ‘you exploit the people!’ And instead of responding to the cries of the people who cry out for salvation, they send them away.”
Christians who do not bear witness, who use the Church for their own affairs, who silence voices? Hello Synod on the Family!
Rigorists, hypocrites, exploiters, parlour room Christians….this is the cruel ranting of a political radical. Calumniating faithful Christians by calling them Pharisees is not the work of Christ. It’s just false shepherding.
The Pope closes with a brief description of some nice Christians, but I don’t think the people he’s envisioning are actually very nice at all.