Be Christians of substance, not appearance, pope says at Angelus

By Junno Arocho Esteves

CITY (CNS) — Obeying the true spirit of the commandments and not just a literal interpretation of them is what
makes Christians become authentic witnesses, Pope Francis said.

seen through Mary’s example, following the commandments “is possible with
the grace of the Holy Spirit which enables us to do everything with love and to
fully carry out the will of God,” he said Feb. 12 before reciting the
Angelus with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

the Virgin Mary, woman of docile listening and joyful obedience, help us to approach the Gospel not
just having a Christian ‘facade,’ but being Christian in substance,” he

pope reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading from Matthew, in which Jesus explains
to his disciples the Mosaic law and warns that “unless your righteousness
surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

righteousness, the pope said, must be “animated by love, charity and
mercy” in order to fulfill the true purpose of the law and “avoid the risk of
formalism,” which is strict
adherence to prescribed laws.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus focused on
three specific commandments: against murder, adultery and swearing.

insulting someone “does not have the same gravity and culpability as
murder,” the
pope said, Jesus
affirms that the commandment is violated by behavior “that offends the
dignity of the human person.”

are used to insulting; it’s like saying ‘good morning,'” the pope said. “One who
insults his brother, kills his brother in his heart. Please, do not insult! We
gain nothing.”

like murder, theft, corruption and other sins, the pope said, adultery “is
first conceived in our innermost being and, once the mistaken choices are
carried out in the heart, they are acted out in concrete behavior.”

swearing in God’s name “is a sign of insecurity” and using God’s
authority to “guarantee our human affairs,” the pope said.

are called to build trust in their families and communities, he said
“rather than resorting to higher interventions in order to be

reciting the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis once again reminded the pilgrims to
fulfill the commandments as Christ did.

forget: don’t
insult; don’t look with evil eyes, with eyes of possession at your neighbor’s
wife; don’t swear,” he
said. “Three things Jesus says. It’s so easy!”

– –

Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

– – –

Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article