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Pope Francis: at Santa Marta, the “Doctors of the letter” are closed in their own “patterns”, they don’t care “about someone’s life”

“The heart closed to God’s truth only clings to the truth of the law”, actually “more to the truth of the letter than to that of the law”, and “finds no other way out but lies, false witnesses and death”. This has been said by the Pope in the sermon during the Mass he officiated in Santa Marta today, when he commented on the first passage from the Acts of the Apostles, in which the doctors of the law accuse Stephen with lies because they cannot “resist the wisdom and spirit” with which he speaks, and so they incite false witnesses to say they heard him “utter blasphemous words against Moses, against God”. Jesus had already scolded them for such attitude, because “their fathers had killed the prophets” and now they build monuments to those prophets. And the answer of the “doctors of the letter” is more “cynical” than “hypocritical”: “If we had been at the times of our fathers, we wouldn’t have done what they did”. And “so – the Pope explained – they wash their hands and, in front of themselves, they judge themselves as pure. But their heart is closed to God’s Word, it is closed to the truth, it is closed to God’s messenger who carries the prophecy, to make God’s people move on”. “It hurts me when I read that little passage from Matthew’s Gospel, when a repentant Judas goes to the priests and says ‘I sinned’ and gives the coins. ‘What do we care! – they say, just like that – You will see to that!’. A heart closed to this poor repentant man who did not know what to do. ‘You will see to that’. And he went and hanged himself”. It is the attitude of the “doctors of the letter”: “They don’t care about someone’s life, they don’t care about Judas’ repenting. They only care about their own legal patterns and about so many words and so many things they have built. And this is the hardness of their hearts, and this is the hardness of these people’s hearts, the foolishness of these people’s hearts”. Stephen – the Pope pointed out – “ends up like all prophets, ends up like Jesus”. And this happens over and over again in the life of the Church, which “tells us about so many people who are killed, judged, even if they were innocent: judged with God’s Word, against God’s Word. Let’s think of witch-hunts or St Joan of Arc, of many other people who were burnt, condemned, because they did not adjust, according to the judges, to God’s Word. It is the example of Jesus, who, to be faithful and to have obeyed the Word of the Father, ends up on the Cross. How tenderly Jesus says to the disciples of Emmaus: ‘O fools and slow of heart’. Let’s ask the Lord today that He many look at the small or big foolishness of our hearts as tenderly, that He may caress us and tell us ‘O fool and slow of heart’ and that He may start explaining us things”.

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