Pope Francis: Uttering Christian Words Without Putting Them Into Practice Hurts People

Pronouncing Christian words without Christ or without putting them into practice hurts the person pronouncing them and others because they are based on pride and cause division in the Church.

This was the warning Francis sent out at this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House.

Listening to and acting on the Word of God is like building a house on a rock, Francis said, inspired by today’s parable from the Gospel of Matthew (7: 21, 24-27).

The Son of God reproaches the Pharisees because they know the commandments but don’t act on them: They are "good words" but if they are not put into practice "not only do they not serve us but they hurt: they deceive us, they make us believe that we have a beautiful home but without a foundation,” Francis said.

The words foundation and rock are a reference to the Lord. “Isaiah makes this analogy in the First Letter: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is a rock for all ages.” The rock is Jesus Christ! The rock is the Lord! One word is strong, it gives life, it can move on, it can tolerate all tacks if this word is rooted in Jesus Christ.”

“A Christian word without vital roots that is not rooted in a person’s life, in Jesus Christ, is a Christian word without Christ! And Christian words without Christ are deceptive, they can hurt people! Speaking about heresy once, an English writer said heresy is a truth, a word, it is truth gone mad. When Christian words are Christless, they take the path of madness.”

This madness leads to pride: “a Christian word without Christ at its centre leads to vanity, to pride, power for the sake of power. The Lord, said the Pope, breaks down these people who believe themselves to be the Rock,” Francis said.

Francis recalled that this is what “Hannah, the mother of Samuel says; Mary says it in the Magnificat: the Lord breaks down the vanity and pride of these people who believe themselves to be the Rock. These people stand behind a word but without Jesus Christ: this word is Christian but it is without Jesus Christ, it lacks a relationship with Jesus Christ, it lacks prayer with Jesus Christ, service in Jesus Christ and love for Jesus Christ.”

“We should build our lives on this rock and He is the rock,” this is God’s message today.

Francis suggested we examine our consciences to understand “to see whether our Christian words are indeed Christ centred because when they are not, he said, they divide us from ourselves and divide the Church.”

The Pope ended his homily by asking the Lord to help in this humility to speak words rooted in Jesus Christ, not ones pronounced for the sake of power which lead to the madness of vanity and pride.

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