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Rome Reports

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Pope in Santa Marta: Don't be false, but be truthful in the heart

In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke of hypocrisy and covering up the truth of sinfulness. He said many try to appear virtuous and holy on the outside.

"Jesus always asks us to be truthful, but truthful inside the heart. Then, if something appears, it is this truth, that which is inside the heart. That's why this advice: when you pray, go do it in secret; when you fast, make up your face, because no one should see the face and weakness of fasting; and when you give, do it so your left hand does not know what the right is doing. Do it secretly."

He asked Christians not to live a life of falsehood through deception and trickery, but to ask Jesus to grant the grace to always to be truthful, starting in the heart.

(Source: Vatican Radio)

In the passage from St Luke’s Gospel, we read about another way that people seek justification, by trying to appear righteous and saintly. They are the hypocrites, whose lives are filthy inside, but on the outside they try to appear virtuous and holy by showing how they fast and pray or give to charity.

In their hearts, there is no substance, but they live by deception and theirs is a life of trickery. Jesus always asks us to be truthful in our hearts: that’s why he tells us to pray out of sight, to hide the weakness we feel when we fast, and to conceal our almsgiving, so that the left hand does not know what the right one is doing.

Jesus asks us to live coherently, because falsehood and hypocrisy are very bad for us. In today’s psalm, he said, we ask the Lord for the grace of truth, saying “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not”. We confess our faults to the Lord and He takes away the our sin and guilt.

We must always be truthful with God, so let us learn not to accuse others, but rather to accuse ourselves, without trying to hide our sins from the Lord.